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BX 5139 .G485 1836 
Gilly, William Stephen 

Hor catechetic 

, 178S 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2015 







BY W. S. GILL Y, M. A. 








iiorary Press, Burlicgtoa N. J. 

It is a vulgar notion, and may be a vulgar error, that wheresoever, 
in the realm of nature, a poison groweth, there growcth near unto it 
a certain antidote. It is at least a touching attestation to the habit- 
ual faith of the common people in the providence of God, and an 
expressive tribute to his ever present and prevailing goodness. But 
whatever truth there be in this doctrine of physical compensations, 
in the dealings which God hath with men as moral agents, there 
is certainly something analogous to it. Out of the sorest evils which 
our fallen nature brings upon itself, there ever springeth up a healing 
retribution. Excess of license chastens and reclaims itself. Rebel- 
lion weaves a scorpion scourge that whips us back to God. The 
stern conviction which experience ever brings of the error of our own 
ways, and of the folly of our own devices, is both the motive and 
preparative of that return to a better mind, without which peace and 
comfort are forever hopeless. So doth the wrath of man redound to 
his Creator's glory. So, in mercy to our souls, doth he restrain the 
fierce remainder. 

Are there not manifested in onr day clear indications of this recu- 
perative process of God's providence, in the instinctive readiness with 
which men now begin to turn from vague and barren generalization, 
from the heats of artificial excitement, or the shallow pools of super- 
ficial nonsense, to the cool, green pastures, to the deep, still waters, 
of God's word, — and to those slow, and patient, and pains-taking 
methods, by which alone they can be found ? The age which just 
precedes us, and of which ourselves are part, has been, it must be 
owned, an age of loud and liberal profession, and, we fear it must as 



well be owned, of scant and sparing practice. The apostle sketches 
it in few and happy words, when, writing to the first Ephesian bi- 
shop, he describes certain persons of that day, as "ever learning, and 
never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." It is not want 
of means. For it is a day of Bibles and of schools — the dynasty of 
the Press — the age of light. It is not want of stimulus to effort. The 
very atmosphere is excitement. The world is in commotion. The 
human family have gone, as it were, into Committee of the whole, for 
"the diffusion of " what is called, "useful knowledge." "Many" 
are seen in all directions to "run to and fro;" and yet "knowledge" 
— true, sound, substantial, saving knowledge — " is " not " increased." 
We have been looking back with a pity that was half contempt upon 
our poor groping ancestors, when, in integrity, and piety, and mo- 
desty, and dignity, and courtesy, we are far out of sight behind them. 
We have congratulated the world, and plumed ourselves, upon "the 
march of mind," when, in good truth, so far as the strong founda- 
tions, the substantial safeguards, and the crowning ornaments of 
social life are thought of, we have been stationary, if indeed we have 
not retrograded. It is a cheering symptom, an olive branch of hope, 
a token that the Lord God hath not " cast off forever," that, in the 
midst of this prevailing self-delusion, misgivings have arisen, that all 
is not so well as it appears. There is an enquiry for " first princi- 
ples." There is a searching after " the old paths." There is a gen- 
eral persuasion that "the old is better." A revival, at least in part, 
is now in progress, of the methods of primitive instruction and, we 
will yet hope, of the measures of primitive devotion. The Church 
has taken into her own hands, what she never should have delegated, 
the high trust, to " preach the Gospel to every creature." The plan 
of systematic charity, on principle, finds universal and substantial 
favour. The ancient institution of public catechising is revived 
with great acceptance. Arc not these encouraging " signs of the 
times?" Is not God showing "some token upon us for good?" May 
we not implore him, with renewed confidence, still to " revive his 
work?" "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name 
give the praise!" 

It is in the hope of contributing something to the accomplishment 



of these happy presages of advancing knowledge and increasing piety, 
that the present republication is attempted. With the thoughtful 
and the good, it can require neither apology nor argument. The 
attempt to improve the young is one which among them will always 
meet with universal favour. All know that if the fountains be not 
pure, the streams must be corrupt. All are aware that if men hope 
to reap in summer, they must plough and sow in spring. All agree 
that the hope of the Church, that the hope of the world, is in the 
young. How vainly, if they be not early taught to seek the Lord ! 
How vainly, if Christian parents do not bring them up in his nurture 
and admonition — if Christian pastors feed not Christian lambs with 
"food convenient" for them ! 

It would be out of place to enter here into any large discussion of 
the merits of public catechising. In the Charge, which follows, the 
subject is considered at some length. In Mr. Gilly's book there are 
presented useful hints and happy illustrations for those who seriously 
desire to adopt and make effectual the primitive institution. The 
author has not undertaken, it will at once be seen, a regular treatise. 
He has done what is likely, we imagine, to be more useful — thrown 
together in an easy and natural way the results of his own experience ; 
and thus taken by the hand, as it were, any who might consent 
to walk with him in the path which he has found so pleasant and 
so profitable. He has wisely deemed it better to write a book which 
would set men to thinking for themselves, than to attempt to reason 
out the subject for them. His little volume will be found, to use a 
phrase of Aristotle's, full of " the seeds of things." They will take 
root, we trust, and grow, and bear rich fruit, in many minds. At its 
first appearance it attracted much attention. Its republication in this 
country has been much desired. It is now attempted, in the hope— 
which may God please to grant ! — that it may add something to the 
wholesome impulse, which is now working in the minds of Christian 
men, toward sounder methods of instruction in the faith and practice 
of the Gospel, and which will not fail to lead, if he vouchsafe the 
gTaces of his Holy Spirit, to larger attainments in holiness, and to 
higher elevations of piety. 

What may be the cause why so much cloth so soon changeth co- 
lour ? It is because it was never wet wadded, which giveth the 
fixation to a colour, and setteth it in the cloth. 

What may be the reason why so many nowadays are carried about 
with every wind of doctrine, even to scour every poinf in the com- 
pass round about 1 Surely it is because they were never well 
catechised in the principles of religion. — Thomas Fuller. 

33tsJjop Doanc's SeconU (EJarfle 


'Tis a pity that people dont look at their 
Catechism sometimes when they are grown 
up : for it is full as good for men and wo- 
men as it is for children; nay better: for 
though the answers contained in it are 
intended for children to repeat, yet the du- 
ties enjoined in it are intended for men and 
women to put in practice. It is. if I may 
so speak, the very grammar of Christianity, 
and of our Church ; and they who under- 
stand every part of their Catechism tho- 
roughly, will not be ignorant of any thing 
which a plain Christian need to know. 

rfRortwiy of 
,R£C. FEB m\ 


My brethren of the Clergy, 

I suppose that if from all the sacred book that sen- 
tence should be chosen which would find with human 
hearts the fullest acceptation, it would be these words of 
Jesus Christ, — " Suffer the little children to come unto me, 
and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God." 
And 1 am persuaded, in like manner, that if a single aspect 
or provision of the Church should be selected, to establish 
the conviction that she came from God, and was devised 
for man, that would be taken which presents her, as the 
Spouse of Christ, training the children of her Lord, in ho- 
liness and piety, for their inheritance of glory. It follows, 
by a necessary consequence, that if we, my reverend bre- 
thren, would most effectually do honour to the Master 
whom we serve, and most essentially promote the welfare 
of the souls entrusted to our care, we must have ever in 
our hearts the sense of our relation to the young, and 
labour constantly, with diligonce, fidelity and prayer, to be 
approved of Jesus, by the test which he proposed to Peter, 
— " Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? 
Feed my lambs." 

It was the purpose of the Primary Charge to state and 
urge " the edification of the Church, for the salvation of 
souls," as "the office and duty of the Christian Ministry." 
It seemed to me the best improvement of the occasion 
which brought us first together, as fellow-servants in tho 


same household of the common faith, to state thus gener- 
ally the objects and the nature of our sacred calling — the 
end at which we aim, the means by which we seek it, the 
faithful efforts, fervent prayers, sincere desires, to which 
the Lord assures his blessing, approval here, and " life for 
evermore." Of a subject so extensive, the discussion, of 
necessity, was partial. An outline only could be given, to 
be filled up and finished, as occasion should demand, and 
God permit. Spared by his gracious providence, through 
three years more, the period has arrived, at which " it is 
deemed proper," in the judgment of the Church,* " unless 
prevented by a reasonable cause," that I again address 
you in " a Charge." In proceeding to take up the details 
of that great subject, which could then be treated only in 
the mass, I select for present consideration the attractive 
feature which has just been specified — tiie Church's 
care for " little children" — and I ask your patient 
attention, reverend brethren, while, from an examination of 
her beautiful and merciful provisions, I develope her fidelity 
and our responsibility. 

I. The Church is faithful to her Lord in the care she 
takes for " little children" — 

To bring them to him in Infant Baptism ; 

To train them up for him, in the instructions of the 
Catechism; and 

To engage them to be his forever, in the rite of Confir- 

II. In each of these, but most especially in the second 
of them — the catechetical instruction of the young — we 
derive, my reverend brethren, from her fidelity, the argu- 

* Canon xxvi of the General Convention. 

ment and admonition of our great responsibility. — God 
grant that we may so receive the Saviour, in the little child- 
ren whom he loves, that, at the last, he may receive and 
own us all as faithful shepherds, and hestow on us the crown 
of life, " that fadeth not away." 

i. The Church is faithful to her Lord in bringing " little 
children" to him, in Infant Baptism. I assume that she has 
right to do so. I undertake no defence of the grounds 
and reasons of this sacrament. I enter into no argument 
to prove that the Gospel is more comprehensive, more 
benevolent, more regardful of human infirmity, than the 
Law. I can conceive of no necessity to show that He, 
who, before his crucifixion, said, " Suffer little children to 
come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the 
kingdom of God," did not afterwards, when he had risen 
from the dead, exclude them from the initiatory rite of his 
religion, or forbid that they should " be born of water and 
of the Spirit," without which, he declared to Nicodemus, 
none can "enter into the kingdom of God." But, the 
authority conceded, how benign, how beautiful, how admir- 
able for wisdom and benevolence, the uses of the ordinance ! 
The infant sufferer is born into a world of sorrow and of 
sin, the heir at once of both. At the first threshold of his 
being, the Saviour's spouse comes out to meet him. She 
bears him to the bleeding Cross. She laves him in the 
fountain that forever flows from it, " for sin and for un- 
cleanness." She signs him with its sacred sign. It is the 
signature of heaven upon his brow and in his heart. He 
is « born again" " of water and of the Spirit." He is the 
child of God, by " adoption and grace." He is an heir, 
through hope, of the eternal kingdom, by the merits of the 
most precious death of the only-begotten Son of God. 


ii. When she has brought the little children thus to 
Christ, and made them by adoption members of the family 
of God, does she so leave them to the sinful bias of their 
fallen nature, and the corrupting influence of the wicked 
world 1 No ! She bears them gently in a mother's arms. 
She clasps them fondly to a mother's breast. They are 
nurtured at her bosom. They are led by her hand. They 
are fed " with milk, and not with meat." There is ever 
in her ear the touching charge of her dear Lord, "take this 
child, and nurse him for me ;" and the thought is ever 
foremost in her heart, to bring them up, whom He has so 
acknowledged, in His nurture and holy admonition. Ad- 
mirable for this end, is the " Catechism " which she has 
provided, — a "form of sound words" — scripture, or strictly 
scriptural — the work of men, giants in intellect, and saints 
in piety — " so concise that the youngest child may learn it 
by heart, and yet so copious as to contain all things neces- 
sary to salvation."* Admirable is the provision which 
she has made, that this unrivalled summary of Christian 
faith and practice may not remain as a dead letter in the 
Prayer Book, — her rubrics requiring "the minister of every 
parish" "diligently upon Sundays and Holy-days" to 
" instruct or examine" the " children of his parish," " open- 
ly in the Church," in some part of it; and "all fathers, 
mothers, masters and mistresses " being enjoined to " cause 
their children, servants and apprentices, who have not 
learned their Catechism, to come to the Church, at the 
time appointed, and obediently to hear, and to be ordered 
by the minister)"" — her canons directing that the ministers 

* Jenkin on the Liturgy, pp. 225, 226. 
f At the end of the Catechism. 


who have charge of parishes " shall not only be diligent in 
instructing the children in the Catechism, but shall also by 
stated catechetical lectures and instruction be diligent in 
informing the youth and others in the doctrines, constitu- 
tion, and liturgy of the Church"* — nay the very title of 
the Catechism, bearing with it this direct and positive in- 
junction, " that is to say, an instruction to be learned by 
every person before he be brought to be confirmed by the 

iii. From the time that water first was sprinkled on the 
infant's brow, in the eternal, triune Name, this was the 
point to which all hearts were turned. Nearer than father 
or than molherf to the children of her Saviour's love, the 
Church, at that first moment of his Christian being, ex- 
horted them, with the Godfathers and Godmothers, that 
they " take care " that he " be brought to the Bishop to be 
confirmed by him, so soon as he can say the Creed, the 
Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and is suffi- 
ciently instructed in the other parts of the Church Cate- 
chism, set forth for that purpose." Through all his help- 
less infancy, and tender childhood, and ingenuous youth, 
this purpose was pursued. She knew how in a thousand 
ways the devious paths of life would tempt his inexperi- 

* Canon xxviii. 

f In Gibson's Codex there is a remarkable illustration of this more 
than maternal interest of the Church for " little children," even in 
reference to their temporal safety. It is one of the Constitutions of 
Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the reign of Henry III, and 
is described in the margin thus — " Women shall be often admonished 
not to endanger their children." It bears date, A. D. 1236. — " JVe 
faminx tenellos node opprimant, aliive pcriculo exponant. Foemi- 
nae commoneantur, ut pueros caute alant, et juxta se in nocte non 
collocarent, ne opprimantur. Solos juxta aquas sine custode non re- 
linquant, et hoc omni die Dominica eis dicatur. 


enced feet; and, with a track of light, she sketched for him 
that path of God's commandments, which is the single path 
of happiness and peace. She knew how deep the stain, 
how stern the yoke of sin ; and she set up before him the 
mysterious Cross, and bid him turn to it, through faith in 
him who suffered there and died, and be redeemed and 
cleansed and live. She knew how tempting were the vani- 
ties of time, and how prevailing were the spells of earth ; 
and she disclosed to him the joys of heaven, and its untold, 
unmingled and eternal glories, and exhorted him to set his 
affections there, and to have his treasure there and his 
home, that when his flesh and his heart shall fail, that may 
be his rest, and his "portion forever." In the light of such 
instructions, and by the power of such convictions, and 
with the comfort of such hopes, she has continued faithfully 
to catechise* him in the way in which he ought to go: and 
now, "sufficiently instructed," its truths engraven on his 
heart, its precepts radiant in his life, he comes — no more 
"a babe in Christ," but grown in knowledge and in grace, 
the freeman of the Lord — to own before the Church the 
blessed bond sealed for him in his infancy, and in the im- 
parted strength of God, the Sanctifler, to make his only 
and his best return, in yielding up himself, his soul and 
body to the service and the glory of his Saviour. He 
makes the solemn pledge. He kneels. He supplicates 
the heavenly grace. The hands of an apostle rest with 
holy prayers upon his head. And he is God's, and — so 
he be faithful unto death — God is, and will be, his forever. 

Such is an outline, brief and rapid, of the beautiful and 
merciful provision by which the Church demonstrates and 

* Proverbs xxii. 6, marginal reading. 


exerts her care for little children. How true to nature ! 
How profound in philosophy! In piety how elevated! 
How instinct with charity ! She " knows whereof we are 
made, and remembers that we are but dust." She sees 
that " of ourselves we are not sufficient to any good thing, 
as of ourselves." She bears in mind that for the race of 
man, so weak, so lost, so " dead in trespasses and sins," 
the Saviour died, that he might redeem them from all ini- 
quity, and purify them to himself, as " a peculiar people, 
zealous of good works." A work so great cannot begin 
too soon. In such an enterprize, so mighty, so momentous, 
involving the eternal welfare of immortal souls, no mo- 
ment must be lost. In resisting the whole bent and bias 
of an evil nature, reclaiming it from the control and thral- 
dom of a power to which its will consents, transforming 
it — to use the only word which tells us all — creating it 
anew, so that from being sinful and loving sin, it shall be- 
come holy and in love with holiness, there must be need 
of time, and influence, and energy, and patience, and 
perseverance, and true love that never fails nor falters, 
nor grows weary, — and there needs above them and beyond 
them all, without which all the rest are vain, the sancti- 
fying grace of the divine and holy Spirit. And she brings 
them all to bear — commences with the babe just born — 
secures for him, while worldlings would be caring for his 
fortune or his rank, a title to the purchase of the Cross, a 
portion in the heritage of heaven — lays her wait for the 
first dawning of his moral nature, and has prepared her 
pious hymn and holy prayer, to catch his infant heart* — 

* And we may add, to hold his aged heart. See a beautiful in- 
stance of the impression and enjoyment of an infant hymn, at 
eighty-nine, in the appendix to Bishop Doane's sermon commemo- 
rative of Bishop White, 


leads him gently by the hand to tender pastures and still 
waters — teaches him diligently, while he sits in the house 
and when he walks by the way, when he lies down and 
when he rises up — plies him with " line upon line, line 
upon line, precept upon precept, precept upon precept" — 
has patience w ith his weakness, with his slowness of heart, 
with his impatience, with his perversity, with his ingrati- 
tude — and supplicates, w ith fervent and continual prayers, 
the blessing of that gracious Spirit, who alone can bless 
her care, and crown her toil with increase. 

And now, my reverend brethren, from the consideration 
of the Church's faithfulness in taking care of " little 
children," what can result, but the conviction of our great 
responsibility ? In vain her merciful provision, without 
hearts that can appreciate and adopt it. In vain her admi- 
rable plans, if there be not willing hands, to carry them 
out, and to accomplish them. How shall we excuse our- 
selves, if, with such provision and such plans as we possess, 
we fail in our discharge of duty, and disappoint the Church's 
fondest hope ? How, at the last great day, shall we endure 
it, when he who died for all the flock, as once he turned 
and looked on Peter, shall turn and look on us, and ask, 
at our hands, the lambs our negligence has lost 1 Con- 
strained by these considerations, solicitous that in our pas- 
toral office we may all approve ourselves good shepherds, 
that so the Saviour may be honoured, the Church edified, 
the sheep and lambs w^ell fed, immortal souls reclaimed 
and sanctified and saved, and our account returned " with 
joy, and not with grief," I urge with utmost earnestness, 
as worthy of your best attention, and certain to repay your 
greatest efforts, the catechetical instruction of the young ; 
and, in what follows of the present Charge, shall ask your 


interest in the inquiry, which I now propose, as to its exact 
nature, its best method, and its manifold advantages. 

1. The ancient and excellent institution of Catechising 
has suffered much depreciation from prevailing errors, as 
to its exact nature and intention. It has been supposed 
that these were both fulfilled when, now and then, — on 
rare occasions, as if an irksome task ; when the whole con- 
gregation had retired, as if a work affording neither interest 
nor profit — its words, committed all to memory, were said 
by rote, — the questions asked exactly as they stand, no 
less, no more, — the answers rendered to the letter, and 
too often with but little more of understanding or of appli- 
cation than a well-instructed parrot might attain to. Who 
can wonder, if the institution, so administered, should suf- 
fer disrepute — if a duty discharged with so little interest, 
should be interesting to few or none — if an office, so re- 
duced and dwindled to a bare and barren form, should fail 
of any useful purpose, and fall into neglect 1 In the be- 
ginning it was not so. By catechising, beyond a question, 
the faith and practice of the Gospel first gained an intro- 
duction among men. " It was principally by catechising," 
says Bishop Mant, on the authority of Hegesippus, "that 
the religion of Jesus was in a few years spread over the 
known world."* " By catechising, under Heaven," says 
Archdeacon Bayley, " was planted the apostolic Church ; 
by catechising, the sound of the Gospel was sent forth into 
all lands. ""j" " St. Paul's converts," says the present Bishop 
of Chester, " had all been instructed in the faith, as the 
custom was, catechetical ly."^: " Clemens Alcxandrinus, 

• Notes on the Catechism. 

f Charge to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Stow. 

i J. B. Sumner, Apostolical Preaching, 4th LonJon edition, p. 308. 



Heraclias, afterwards Bishop of Alexandria, and Origen, 
were catechists ; and the latter was so eminently success- 
ful in proceeding upon the golden rule, " line upon line and 
precept upon precept," that he not only achieved conver- 
sions among the more ignorant and uninformed, but among 
accomplished scholars."* It follows from these statements, 
and from many more that might be made, that catechetical 
instruction could not have been in earlier days that mere 
mechanical procedure which some appear to think it. 
" Sure I am," says Bishop Edmund Law, " catechising in 
its original, true sense, implies something more than a bare 
running over an old form, though that consist of proper 
questions and answers, and contain whatever is needful to 
believe or practice. "f 

The word, indeed, to go to the beginning, is a scriptural 
word, the practice is a scriptural practice. When St. Luke 
declares his purpose, in writing to Theophilus, to be, that 
he might know the certainty of those things wherein he 
was instructed, the literal meaning of the word is cate- 
chised-X When Apollos is spoken of as a man instructed 
in the way of the Lord, the literal sense is catechised.^ 
And when St. Paul declares that he had rather speak five 
words with his understanding that he might teach others, 
than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue, the literal 
rendering is, that he might catechise \\ others. And ac- 
cordingly, St. Cyril says expressly, that " St. Paul preached 
the Gospel from Rome to Illyria, and taught at Rome, by 
catechising."!! If it be asked then, what w e are to under- 

* Gilly's Hora Catechetica-, pp. 70, 1. 

j- Dissertation on the nature and necessity of Catechising. 

* St. Luke i. 4. § Acts xviii. 25. || 1 Corinthians xW. 19. 
1 Catechesis, xvii, 16— quoted by Gilly, p. 66. 


stand precisely by this term, we answer, in the words of 
Clement of Alexandria, specially this, — " the knowledge 
of religion first delivered to the ignorant by the Catechist, 
and then by them repeated over and over again"* — the 
catechist being said to instruct, by making the elements of 
Christian doctrine resound in the ears of his students, and 
the Catechumen being said to be taught, by repeating the 
words addressed to him, and by answering questions. The 
persons first catechised, though men in years, were chil- 
dren in the knowledge of the Gospel — so that the same 
Clement, after Paul, speaks of them as " babes in Christ," 
and of catechetical instruction as "milk," being as it were, 
" the first nourishment of the souI."f It was therefore in 
its matter elementary, and simple in its style, brief and fa- 
miliar, and relying much for certainty of inculcation on its 
frequent repetitions. But it addressed the mind. It en- 
gaged the heart. It unfolded the whole plan of salvation. 
It made Apollos "mighty in the scriptures."^: It could 
not, therefore, be a mere set form. It was not, therefore, 
matter for the memory alone. It did not exhaust itself in 
words and phrases, said by rote. In our day, things are 
changed. Christianity, in name at least, prevails. The 
catechumens are now children. But the lesson is the same. 
The object is the same. The human mind remains the 
same. And the familiar teaching of the Catechism, its 
clear analysis of Scripture, its orderly developement of 
Christian doctrine, its wholesome exhortations to Christian 
practice, its striking illustrations, its direct appeals, its 
"line upon line," and "precept upon precept," its adapta- 

* Cited by Comber, in Gilly, p. v. 

| Bishop Kay's account of the Life and Writings of Clement of 
Alexandria, pp. 444, 5. 4 Acts xviii, 24, 25. 


tion to every form of character and every grade of intelli- 
gence, its variety and simplicity, its homeliness and earnest- 
ness, still render it the most effectual instrument of pastoral 
usefulness, and still claim for it, in its legitimate and pro- 
per exercise, that prominent regard which, in the primitive 
Church, in the Church through which we hold commu- 
nion with the Apostles,* and in our own Church, has ever 
been assigned to it. " By catechising," says Bishop Law, 
whose exposition of the nature of the office we adopt, " I 
mean not the procuring our own Catechism, or any other 
short explanation of Christianity, to be said a few times 
over by rote, nor the delivering any stated discourse thereon, 
(though these may be of great use in their turns,) but the 
free, frequent, and familiar exercising of young persons in 
it, till they thoroughly understand, and can express the 
meaning of each word and phrase, according to their res- 
pective capacities, experience, and degrfe of improvement ; 
thus leading them on gradually from sounds to sense, form- 
ing their thoughts, and fixing their attention to the reason 
and relation of things ; aiding and inuring them to reflect 
a little on such points as are within their reach ; and ena- 

* It would occupy much room merely to cite the provisions by 
which the Church of England has sought to enforce the primitive 
institution of Catechising. One, which owed its origin to the judi- 
cious piety of that rare youth, the sixth Edward, is thus cited by 
Bishop Gibson in his Codex Juris Ecclesiastici AngUctmi — "In 
the Reformatio Legum there is an excellent rule upon this head. 
One hour or more in the afternoon service, let the parish-priest take 
up the Catechism, and give great attention to the explanation of it ; 
for a frequent exposition of the Catechism is of the utmost use and 
benefit in the Church of God. And we wish this instruction to be 
given not only to the children, but to the young persons who are 
growing up, that they also may be well informed in the principles of 
their religion, and that the assiduity of the children may be stimu- 
lated by their presence." 


bling them at length to give a clear account of all parts of 
the Christian dispensation, and become fully acquainted 
with their duty both to God and man. This is the office 
of catechising, which though it may appear a low, con- 
temptible one, yet is assuredly an arduous task, and which 
perhaps requires the greatest pains and skill of any part of 
the whole ministerial function."* 

2. In the discharge of this great duty, thus denned, there 
doubtless may be used variety of method, and this with- 
out departure from its proper purpose and intention. A 
few suggestions, the result of much reflection, and confirmed 
in practice, will illustrate my own preference. 

i. Whatever helps the Catechist may use, the Church 
Catechism should always be the text-book. There is none 
so good. There is no other that has authority. The use 
of Catechisms preliminary to it, and of Catechisms explan- 
atory of it, and of Catechisms for those of riper years, is 
altogether unnecessary, and tends to distract the mind. 
Multiply Catechisms as you may, there is but one plan of 
salvation. That, the Catechism in the Prayer Book fully 
and faithfully dcvelopes. The best could do no more. 
" The country parson," says godly Herbert, " values Cat- 
echism highly. He useth and preferreth the ordinary 
Church Catechism, partly for obedience to authority, partly 
for uniformity sake, that the same common truths may 
be every where professed ; especially since many remove 
from parish to parish, who, like Christian soldiers, are to 
give the word, and to satisfy the congregation, by their 
Catholic answers. "f In one respect it is peculiar. Parts 
of it are level to the comprehension of the simplest child. 

* Nature and necessity of Catechising, 
f The Parson Catechising. 


Parts of it, if thoroughly investigated, would task the lof- 
tiest reach of the most intellectual man — places in it, as an 
ancient * writes of sacred Scripture, where every lamb 
may wade, other places where an elephant must swim. 
The utmost range is thus permitted to the Pastor in the 
adaptation of it to the several capacities of those whom he 
instructs — exacting of all, says Herbert, "the doctrines of 
the Catechism : of the younger sort the very words ; of the 
elder, the substance.""|" Remembering, we may add, that 
as the youngest soon will rank among the elder, the elder 
soon will pass beyond his reach, he cannot be diligent 
enough in storing all their memories with the words, in 
imbuing all their hearts with the substance, of that most 
admirable Christian manual. 

" There are very few human productions," says one who 
has written admirably on this subject, " upon which a 
Christian teacher can ground his instructions with so much 
confidence, as the Church Catechism. The Roman Catho- 
lic Catechisms run away into many points of faith and 
discipline, which have no support whatever from the plain 
words of Scripture. Several of the best Catechisms of 
reformed congregations are abstrusely doctrinal, — others 
are diffuse and lengthened out into treatises ; while our own 
is neither redundant nor dogmatical. It never wanders 
from Scripture, or runs into nice distinctions : it contains 
that alone in which all Christians are agreed. It raises no 
scruples, it offends no prejudices, and its very brevity 
implies that it leaves much to the judgment of the parish 
priest, and demands that he do more than confine himself 
to its concise phraseology — that, taking its letter as his 

* Gregory the Great. 

f The Parson Catechising. 


guide, he make a full and complete illustration of its apos- 
tolical lessons. Hence the clergyman who commences his 
catechetical lectures with this manual in his hand, sets out 
in good humour with all Christian men. Every body is 
with him, no man is against him. Those who think the 
Catechism too short, look to him for amplification. Those 
who fancy it requires some explanation are glad to have 
him for an expounder."* 

ii. Excellent as the Catechism is, and prominent as it 
should be in every plan of pastoral instruction, it should 
always be impressed upon the mind of every child, that it 
is nothing, and of no regard, but as it may be proved by 
Scripture. While therefore its venerable text should be 
continually repeated, analysed, enlarged on, illustrated, 
laid to the heart, applied to all the life, it should be con- 
stantly required that every line and word of it be shown 
to have authority in Holy Scripture. Used in this way, 
the Catechism explains the Bible, while the Bible sustains 
the Catechism. The plan of salvation is developed. The 
doctrines of the Cross are explained. The duties of life 
are enforced. Of the whole counsel of God no portion is 
kept back. Of all that appertains to life and godliness no 
point is left obscure. Nothing can be more impressive, 
nothing can be more interesting than an exercise like this. 
The lucid order of the Catechism throws light upon the 
meaning of the sacred text. The sacred text gives unction, 
power and life to the instructions of the Catechism. At 
every step, new confidence is gained, new beauties are 
apparent. The young Christian drinks conviction from the 
first fountains of eternal truth ; and finds, with lively satis- 

* Gilly's Hora; Catccheticae, pp. 147, 8. 


faction, that every word which has been taught him by the 
Church, has precedent and sanction in the pure word of 

iii. The exercise of catechising, thus guided by the pro- 
vision made for it in the Prayer Book, with continual com- 
parison of every point with Holy Writ, should also be con- 
ducted in a constant reference to the order and services of 
the Church. In this way, her distinctive features, the 
authority and constitution of her ministry, the nature and 
importance of the sacraments, the admirable arrangement 
of the Christian year, her daily services, her solemn cere- 
monies, her impressive rites, may all be made familiar to 
the children, commended to their understandings, made en- 
gaging to their hearts ; and shown to be not less accordant 
with the sacred warrant of the word of God than with the 
dictates of man's reason, and the infirmities, necessities and 
sympathies of his immortal nature. In this way, objections 
are answered, prejudices mitigated, ignorance informed. 
The relation of the parts is shown, and the agreement of 
the whole. The Church approves herself to be what God 
designed, the pillar and basis of the truth.* Her service 
is, and is seen to be, a " reasonable service ;" her worship, 
" the beauty of holiness," commends itself to every heart, 
and is, as it is felt to be, by every pious soul, a " spiritual 
sacrifice," acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ. 

iv. The catechising should be " openly in the Church." 
This is the provision of the rubric. Of its meaning, there 
can be no doubt. To catechise the children before the con- 
gregation have assembled, or after they have dispersed, is 
not to comply with it — is to deprive many who might be 

* 1 Timothy, iii. 15. 


profited by it of the advantage — is to put its light " under 
a bushel," when it should be set up in the candlestick, and 
give light to all that are in the house. The disregard of 
this injunction has tended very greatly to depreciate the 
Catechising. A thing done in a corner is naturally sup- 
posed to be of small importance ; and what a thing is 
thought to be, it commonly is. General interest has been 
lost. Parents and guardians have seldom favoured it with 
their presence. It has possessed nothing to render it ani- 
mating to the Pastor, or engaging to the children. It has 
become dull, formal work, without estimation, and with 
but small advantage. In too many cases, it has gone en- 
tirely out of use. 

v. To restore the catechising to its due importance, it 
must not only be done openly in the Church, but, when it 
is done, it must take the place of the sermon. Objections 
will, I know, be raised to this proposal — that the people 
will complain of it — that it will hinder their edification — 
that it will make the Church unpopular. They are the 
objections, I presume to say, of those who never made the 
trial, or made it partially, and without confidence. The 
true inquiry to be made is, what is right, and what has 
been experience ? It is right, doubtless, that " the priest's 
lips should keep knowledge, and that the people should 
seek the law at his mouth." What the Scripture teaches, 
what the Church enjoins, what his best judgment recom- 
mends, and his conscience honestly approves, he certainly 
must do. And what he makes it plain that he so does, the 
people will as certainly allow. They know that the chil- 
dren must be instructed. They know that the Church re- 
quires that he should catechise them openly before the 
congregation. They know that for this service time must 


be allowed. They know that to add it to a sermon will 
exhaust his strength, while it fatigues the children, and is 
wearisome to them. It is an error to suppose the people 
blind to these considerations, or deaf to reason and to duty. 
They are alive to both. They confide in the judgment of 
him who ministers to them in holy things. They are pre- 
disposed to the approval of his godly judgments. Let 
him convince them that he seeks not theirs, but them; let 
them be satisfied that he would save their children and 
themselves ; and they will object to nothing that he proposes, 
they will withhold nothing that he requires, — be it con- 
sistent only with the Scripture and the Church. Of the 
good shepherd, that goeth before his sheep, the saying of 
the Saviour always will be true — calling his own sheep by 
name, and leading them out, his sheep will follow him, 
because they know his voice.* And such is the lesson of 
experience. Where the catechising has been made a pub- 
lic exercise, and diligently administered, it has secured ac- 
ceptance with the people, and approved itself a benefit to 
all. Bishop Sanderson, when he was a parochial Cler- 
gyman, used to spend an hour at evening in the Church 
Catechism : " whereat," says one of his biographers, " the 
parents and elder sort were wont to be present, and from 
whence they reaped greater benefit than from his sermons ; 
the great principles of religion working more powerfully 
upon them than his discourses and enlargements. "j" " I 
never yet," says Bishop Fleetwood, " heard catechising in 
the Church, where I did not see the oldest and the gravest 
people attend as seriously as any else; and I dare say 
they were as much edified and more pleased to be so than 

* John, T. 4. 

■j- Special Remarks in the Life of Dr. Sanderson, p. 24. 



the elder."* " In most country parishes," says the present 
Bishop of London, " a catechetical examination of young 
persons, interspersed with judicious illustrations and re- 
marks, will be of greater benefit to the congregation than 
a second sermon."")" My own experience in every respect 
confirms the statement of these high authorities. Every 
where, the testimony is, that the catechising at the visi- 
tation transcends in interest and in profit the usual sermon. 
Once in a month, at least, in every parish — as I have prac- 
tised with entire acceptance and to great advantage in my 
own — I most decidedly advise the substitution. I am much 
disposed to think with Bishop Blomfield, that it were well, 
if it were weekly. I only differ from him, in believing, 
that in city, equally with country parishes, the practice is 
not only feasible, but altogether to be commended. 

vi. It is scarcely necessary to suggest, that in conducting 
the catechetical exercise, distinctness, simplicity, direct- 
ness, familiarity, variety are elements essential to success. 
Distinctness is essential to the hearing, first, and then to 
the understanding, of the exercise. To ensure the hearing 
of the answers, as well as of the questions, the minister 
must often repeat them, as they fall from the weak voice 
of his little, timid pupil: and this, if it be connected with 
a word or two, in confirmation, if it be right, in correction, 
if it be wrong ; sometimes by way of explanation, some- 
times by way of enlargement, — incorporating as it were 
the teacher with the scholars, — will give additional weight 
and value to the lesson. That its whole tenour may be 
understood, as well as heard, the questions must be short, 
the points precise, the order natural — the interrogatory so 

* Works, p. 467. j Primary Charge, p. 29. 


framed, that if the expected answer be not in the words of 
the Catechism itself, it may be in the fewest words, con- 
nected obviously with what precedes, suggesting evidently 
that which is to follow. — Simplicity of matter and of ar- 
rangement is a most important quality in catechising. Let 
a single train of thought be well arranged in the instruc- 
tor's mind, before he commence the exercise. Multiplicity 
of subjects divides, complexity of statement will confuse, 
the attention of the learner. A single doctrine or a single 
duty, with its connections and its consequences, will often 
furnish matter for a lesson. The progress made by weeks 
or months, from step to step, completes in time the whole 
great subject, and yet never overtasks the youthful mind. 
A single truth, a single precept, understood, inculcated, 
laid to the heart, will fix itself there, and, with the Spirit's 
gracious aid, will live and grow there. Another and 
another is presented and enforced. The food received is 
well digested. The soul is fed and nurtured. " The sin- 
cere milk of the word " gives gradually place to the " strong 
meat." The " babe in Christ" increases " in wisdom and 
in stature," and grows " in grace, and in the knowledge of 
our Lord Jesus Christ." — To this end, directness and fa- 
miliarity must come in aid of distinctness and simplicity. 
The Christian Pastor must be as a father among his chil- 
dren. He must know them all by name. He must ar- 
rest the individual eye. He must address the individual 
heart. To do this, he must come down to the level of 
every age and capacity. " He is not catechising," says 
one who understands the subject well, " when he ceases to 
be perfectly intelligible, easy and familiar."* " He must 

• Gilly's Hone Catccheticse, p. 148. 



descend," says Bishop Sumner, " from the high and lofty 
tone oflanguage, to walk in the humble terms of Scripture." 
" He must abound in interrogations and direct addresses, 
which, however the rules of composition may condemn in 
writing, the rules of nature sanction and require in speak- 
ing."* The great desideratum is to put the children at 
their ease; and this they will be if they feel that they are 
talking with a friend. Let your children see that you 
take pleasure in instructing them. Let them see that what 
you do, you do from love. Let them feel that what you 
love in them is their immortal souls, for which the Saviour 
died; and lead them thus to lay lo heart, while yet the 
heart is young and soft, the unction of that blood which 
only cleanses from all sin. — Finally, let the subject be re- 
lieved, the exercise diversified, the attention roused and 
kept alive, by a continual variety — by sudden and abrupt 
interrogations, by following out the train of thought which 
some unlooked for answer may suggest, by availing your- 
selves of the infinitude of easy, natural and graceful diver- 
sions from the main argument, which the laws of associa- 
tion will constantly supply, by direct appeals, by searching 
questions, by comparison and contrast, by allusions to the 

* Apostolical preaching, p. 1 1. " The concern of a parish minis- 
ter," says Archbishop Seeker, " is to make the lowest of his congre- 
gation apprehend the doctrine of salvation by repentance, faith and 
obedience ; and to labour, that, when they know the way of life, 
they walk in it. If he doth not these things for them, he doth no- 
thing ; and it requires much consideration to find out the proper 
methods of doing them, and much pains and patience to try one after 
another. Smooth discourses, composed partly in flowing sentences 
which they cannot follow to the end, containing little that awakes 
their drowsy attention, little that enforces on them plainly and home 
what they must do to be saved, leave them as ignorant and unin- 
formed as ever, and only lull them into a fatal security. Therefore 
bring yourselves doiun to their level." — Second Charge. 


incidents and characters of Scripture, by illustrations from 
the services and order of the Church, by suffering the little 
learner sometimes to go wrong, that he may correct him- 
self, by directing the honest answers of the children to the 
exposure and reproof of prevailing error, whether in faith 
or practice, and by casual remarks, incidental inferences, 
addresses to children, to teachers, to parents, to the whole 
congregation — in a word, by whatever the occasion natu- 
rally suggests, that can exercise the mind or engage the 
hearts of the children in " the doctrine which is according 
to godliness," and at the same time quicken the recollec- 
tion of those of riper years, impress them with a just sense 
of their condition and its responsibilities, and provoke them 
to a holy emulation. 

3. Of the final topic of the Charge, the manifold ad- 
vantages of public Catechising, 1 have inevitably antici- 
pated much. In regard to those which still remain unno- 
ticed — so admirable for usefulness is the primitive institution 
— the difficulty is, from the great number, which present 
themselves, to select the few which time and our conve- 
nience allow. I shall attempt no more at present than to 
show, by the enumeration of some leading benefits, its 
great importance in these two relations — as strengthening 
the endearing bond which should unite the Pastor with his 
people, and as a powerful instrument, in his hand, of 
Christian education. 

i. I know not how the nature of that bond which should 
unite the Pastor with the people can be more fully and 
more clearly stated, than I find it in a Charge of the pre- 
sent Primate of all England, when diocesan of London. 
" The allegiance you owe to the Church," he says, « obli- 
ges you in every particular of your professional conduct 


to look to her for direction, and where she either affords 
no definite rule, or custom has superseded her original 
practice, to yield substantial obedience at least by taking 
her principles for your guide. Her wisdom indeed might 
of itself command our attention, if her authority were 
less. In her Canons, which are a body of laws for the 
general regulation of her discipline, we find many directions 
of the greatest importance which ought to be familiar to 
the parish priest. Her liturgical formularies not only sup- 
ply a collection of prayers, instructions and offices, adapted 
to all the solemnities of religious worship, to the exigencies 
of every age and every condition, to the uses of every day, 
to all the contingencies of life; but virtually establish a 
system of parochial discipline conceived on an accurate 
notion of the relation between the pastor and his flock, 
designed to connect them by a regular intercourse, and to 
direct the conduct of both parties in the performance of 
their respective duties. As the ground-work of this plan, 
it is her peculiar object to bring the parishioner from his 
earliest days into immediate contact with his spiritual 
teacher and guide. In the tenour of the rubrics annexed 
to the Catechism, and the offices of Baptism and Confir- 
mation compared with the several Canons relating to the 
same points, we have connected indications of this design. 
Whether we look to the dedication of the infant to God 
by the ministry of the priest, to the profession of faith and 
obedience which is made in his presence by the Sponsors, 
or to the exhortation which designates their duties, and 
specifies the instruction to be given to the child, — we dis- 
cern the pervading intention of placing the rising generation 
in the view of the minister, of giving them in thetenderest 
infancy the advantage of his paternal protection, and 


sending them to the Church to be publicly instructed by 
him in faith and morals, till he is so well satisfied with their 
proficiency as to recommend them for Confirmation to the 
Bishop."* This is an admirable statement. It involves 
an argument powerful indeed to commend the Church to 
universal acceptation. It presents a beautiful and touching 
illustration of the Saviour's pitying love for men, in pro- 
viding for them, — by an office which himself ordained, per- 
petuates, and has declared that he will bless, — that, from the 
cradle to the grave, they shall possess, in him who is their 
minister in holy things, a .guide, companion, friend and 

To strengthen and confirm this holy bond of pastoral 
love, the institution of the Catechism gives powerful aid 
by its just influence with children. The hearts of little 
children are soft and warm. They take impressions easily, 
and hold them long. The pastoral eye, the pastoral voice, 
the pastoral smile, makes an impression then, which time 
will not efface. Gathering the lambs with his arm, and 
carrying them in his bosom, bringing back that which was 
driven away, and seeking again that which was lost, the 
good shepherd commends himself not only, but his mes- 
sage, and his Master, to their favour. The love they feel 
for him insensibly attaches to his work, and he wins souls 
for Christ, at the time when they are fittest for his service, 
and in the way which is most certain to secure them to 
him forever. — Nor is this all. To gain the parent's heart, 

* Charge to the Clergy of the diocese of London, 1822, third edi- 
tion, pp. 20 — 22. — I take this occasion to suggest the obvious im- 
portance of using every mode of influence to retain the cider chil- 
dren and youth of the congregation in the habit of Catechising. It 
is for their good. It makes the exercise more interesting. It knits 
the pastoral bond. It harmonizes and strengthens the Church. 


the surest process is to win the child's. . There is no bond 
so strong as nature knits when sanctified by grace. There 
is no compensation of God's providence so beautiful, as 
when the child repays the debt of life, by leading them who 
gave it to the fountain, where men drink, and live forever. 
And angels, could so base a passion touch their sinless 
souls, might well be thought to envy him whose pastoral 
influence God has blessed to uses so divine. And when 
the little child, by visits such as angels ply from heaven to 
earth", has led the thoughtless parent to the throne of grace, 
and round the sacred hearth the pious circle meet to read 
the word of God, or pour the fervent prayer, there is no 
dearer bond on earth than that which love and gratitude 
then knit about the pastoral crook, and a new chaplet then 
is twined in heaven, to grace the pastoral crown. 

ii. Nor, less effectual is the public Catechising, as an 
instrument of Christian education, than in its influence on 
the pastoral bond. To suppose that the capacity to» com- 
prehend' sermons, or even to understand the sacred Scrip- 
tures, can be had, without some previous preparation, is an 
obvious error. For want of elementary knowledge, much 
preaching is in vain. We take for granted that the people 
know much more than they have ever had the opportunity 
to learn. Hence the necessity of Catechising to supply 
the first principles, to familiarize with terms and forms, 
to discipline the understanding and prepare the heart. 
"There is no employment in the world," says Bishop 
Hall, "wherein God's minister's can employ themselves so 
profitably as in this of plain and familiar Catechism. What 
is a building without a foundation? If this ground work 
be not surely laid, all their divine discourses lie but upon 


shifting sand."* " Great scholars," said Archbishop Usher, 
" possibly may think that it stands not so well with their 
credit to stoop thus low, and to spend so much of their 
time in teaching these rudiments and first principles of the 
doctrine of Christ. But they should consider that the lay- 
ing of the foundation skilfully, as it is the matter of greatest 
importance in the whole building, so it is the very master- 
piece of the wisest builder."f And Bishop Wilson, in his 
primitive administration of the diocese of Sodor and Man, 
having established Catechising as the general usage of the 
Churches, after prayers in the afternoon, instead of a ser- 
mon, refused permission, in a single instance, to depart 
from this arrangement, on the ground that he considered 
it of more use io the souls both of the learned and the igno- 
rant than the very best sermon from the pulpit. And in a 
Charge delivered in his eighty-fifth year, he states his 
Opinion, as "a truth not to be questioned, that the plainest 
sermon from the pulpit will not be understood, nor profit any 
who has not been well instructed in the principles of Chris- 
tianity contained in the Church Catechism." "These," 
he continues, "are foundation principles, and such as every 
pastor of souls is obliged to explain, as he hopes ever to 
do good by his other sermons and labours. We say to 
explain, not only in set discourses from the pulpit, but in a 
plain familiar manner, where questions may be asked, and 
things explained, so as both old and young may be edified. 
Preaching will always be our duty, but of little use, to 
those who understand not the meaning of the words which 
we make use of in our sermons, as, God knows, too many 

* The Peace-maker, section 2 — Works, viii. 90. 
■(■ Sermon before King James I. 



must be supposed to do for want of being instructed in 
their younger years." — Now against the evil thus earnestly 
deprecated by one, than whom there never was a wiser or 
better man, the office of Catechising presents a double 
barrier — first, as it makes the learners intimately familiar 
with the Scriptures, and then with the Scriptures as re- 
ceived and set forth in the Church. The Scriptures are 
the truth, containing all things necessary for salvation. — 
The Church is the ground and pillar of the truth — on which 
it rests, by which it is sustained and guarded, from which 
it is presented to mankind, in due connection with the min- 
istry, the ordinances, the institutions and the worship of 
the Apostles. And the true use and value of her catechet- 
ical instructions is well stated by the last biographer of 
our illustrious Hobart — who was himself not only a great 
admirer of this good old form of teaching, but a great friend 
also to the old-fashioned mode of catechising in the Church 
— as designed to attach her members, " by the power of 
early habit, to her doctrines, her discipline, and her wor- 
ship ; making them not theologians but Christians, and 
not Christians in a vague and general sense, but Christians 
in the Church : recognizing in what it teaches the doctrines 
of the Gospel ; in the sacraments which it administers the 
covenanted means of grace; in its ministry, a divine com- 
mission from Christ and his Apostles; and in its services 
a rational and heart-felt worship offered to Almighty God."* 
It will not need much demonstration to establish from 
all this the inference, that Catechising tends greatly to shut 
out error from the Church, and to promote integrity of 
doctrine. " With respect to the catechetical institution of 

• McVickar's Professional Years of Hobart, p. 71. 


youth," says Bishop Jcbb, " I would remind you that it 
was the primitive method ; employed by the Apostles and 
their immediate followers, and in after ages by the whole 
succession of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, for train- 
ing up and organizing the community of Christians in 
sound principles of faith, in the love of God and man, and 
in purity of life and conversation. It is observable accord- 
ingly, that in exact proportion as Catechising has been 
practised or neglected, the public faith and morals have 
been seen to flourish or decline ;" " and it is not too much 
to say, that next to an established liturgy, and beyond all 
prescribed confessions of faith, the single ordinance of cate- 
chetical institution has, under Providence, been the great 
stay and support throughout Christendom of orthodox un- 
wavering Catholicity."* 

The benefit of Catechising, designed especially for chil- 
dren and young persons, runs over and does good to all 
the congregation. This is expressed with great simplicity 
by holy Herbert, in his Country Parson. " He requires 
all to be present at Catechising : first for the authority of 
the work ; secondly, that parents or masters, as they hear 
the answers prove, may, when they come home, cither 
commend or reprove, either reward or punish ; thirdly, 
that those of the elder sort, who are not well grounded, 
may then, by an honourable way, take occasion to be 
better instructed ; fourthly, that those who are well-grown 
in the knowledge of religion, may examine their grounds, 
review their errors, and by occasion of both enlarge their 
meditations."! " By-standers of all degrees of attainment 
take an interest in observing how the scroll of human 

* Primary Charge. f Parson Catechising. 


nature is unfolded by this exercise. They are pleased in 
seeing the effects which religious doctrine has upon youth- 
ful minds and hearts — in listening to replies which display 
the different dispositions and capacities of children — in 
witnessing the development of character and genius — and 
in comparing their own religious advancement and acquire- 
ments with those of the juvenile circle before them. Many 
of my congregation have made no secret of confessing 
that they could not answer questions proposed as well as 
the children have done, and that they have been thankful 
for the opportunity of picking up information without the 
shame or the trouble of asking for it. They have made 
a still more important acknowledgment — that they have 
taken kindly bints and rebukes which were aimed at them 
through younger marks, when a direct reproof would have 
been intolerable." " The simplicity of the Gospel thus 
triumphs unexpectedly over the wisdom of the wise; and 
praise is perfected out of the mouths of babes and suck- 

It may be thought that the Catechising so administered 
will supersede the Sunday School. I answer, no, it will 
improve and elevate it. The Sunday School system is the 
application of the great principle of division of labour to 
the arduous work of pastoral instruction. The Teachers 
of the Sunday School are thus the Pastor's deputies — his 
constant supervision, and personal direction of the whole 
machinery, being indispensable not only to its working well, 
but to his faithful discharge of his great trust. The Cate- 
chising supplies the Pastor with an admirable test of the 
faithfulness of the Teachers and of the improvement of 

* Gilly, Horse CatecheticE, 150, 71. 


the Scholars. It is his touchstone, to try them, if they be 
sound in doctrine, if they understand what they read, if 
they grow in grace. — Nor is this all. It is a nursery of 
teachers. The Church has suffered much from teachers 
that had need to learn. The religious instruction of the 
young has been intrusted to those who were themselves 
deficient in the first principles of Christian knowledge. 
Another age must reap, it must be feared, the bitter harvest 
that has been sown in this. The remedy is to be found 
in the adoption of the mode of catechetical instruction. Of 
those who are so trained up, it will be true, as of the 
youthful Timothy, that from children they have known the 
Scriptures. Rooted and grounded in the faith, they may 
be trusted, under the pastoral direction, to establish others. 
Uniform in doctrine and in practice, built up as living 
stones upon the sure foundation, the Church of Christ will 
thus be reared, " an holy temple, acceptable to God, 
through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

It is a fact most worthy to be noticed, says Shepherd, in 
his Elucidation of the Book of Common Prayer, that " how- 
ever individuals or societies have differed in other points, 
on the utility and necessity of Catechising all have agreed 
— ancients and moderns ; Europeans, Asiatics and Afri- 
cans ; Greeks and Latins ; Papists and Protestants ; Lu- 
therans and Calvinists ; the Church of England and Dis- 
senters. Luther in the beginning of the Reformation wrote 
two Catechisms ; and he assures us that Catechising 
afforded him more delight than any other ministerial 
duty." The Church of Rome makes diligent and most 
effectual use of its instructions. The Council of Trent, 
in the preface to their Catechism, bear powerful, though 
reluctant testimony to the value of that office — " the age 



is sadly sensible what mischief they (the Protestants) have 
done the Church of Rome, not only by their tongues, but 
especially by those writings called Catechisms." To Cate- 
chising, Baxter, the great Nonconformist, attributed much 
of his success at Kidderminster. " When I came thither 
first, there was about one family in a street that worship- 
ped God, and called upon his name ; and when I came 
away, there were some streets, where there was not past 
one family in the side of a street that did not so, and that 
did not, by professing serious godliness, give us hopes of 
their sincerity. And those families which were the worst, 
being inns and alehouses, usually some person in each 
house did seem to be religious. When I set upon a per- 
sonal conference with each family, and catechising them, 
there were very few in all the town that did refuse to 
come."* And of Eliot, the Indian Missionary, who was 
indefatigable in Catechising, it is said that " he left a well 
principled people behind him." 

The institution of Catechising, so commended by the 
wisest and the best that have adorned and blessed the 
Church of Christ, fell for a season into disregard- It is 
among the signs of the times that give best promise of a 
brighter age, that in every quarter attention to it has lately 
been revived. Christians of every name, with self-reproach 
for their past negligence, resume the instructions of the 
Catechism. I need not tell you, reverend brethren, how 
highly I commend their wisdom. I need not tell you how 
greatly I desire the restoration of the ancient ordinance to 
its primitive relations. It is grateful to me to know, that 
in these views I do but sympathize with my revered pre- 

* Life and Times. 


decessor, who, in two successive Charges, urged upon you 
with conclusive earnestness the same important subject.* 
I rejoice to see that every year confirms the wisdom of this 
course. I fondly trust that in this diocese the Church may 
one day be restored, in this, not only, but in other points, 
to the pure pattern of primitive observance. I put on 
record, in the expressive words of Bishop Hall, the strong 
conclusions of my personal experience — " the most useful 
of all preaching is catechetical ; this being the ground, the 
other raiseth the walls and roofe — this informs the judg- 
ment, that stirs up the affections. What good use is there 
of those affections that runne before the judgment? Or 
of those walls that want a foundation ? For my part, I 
have spent the greater halfe of my life in this station of 
our holy service : I thank God not unpainfully nor unprofi- 
tably. But there is no one thing of which I repent so 
much, as not to have spent more houres in this public 
exercise of catechisme ; in regard whereof I would quarrel 
with my very sermons, and wish that a great part had 
been exchanged for this preaching conference.""!" 

My reverend brethren, the " little children " whom the 
Church commends to our assiduous care will soon be men 
and women. Shall they " grow in grace and in the know- 
ledge and love of God," and so be pillars in his house ? 
Or shall they be left to the evil bias of their fallen nature, 
and to the evil influence of " the instruction which causeth 
to err," and so be wretched here, and lost hereafter? 
What we do for "little children," we do for future genera- 
tions, we do for eternity. It is ours to mould their character ; 

• See Bishop Croes' Charges, in 1819, and in 1829. 
f Dedication of " The old Religion," Works ix, p. 224. 


and so to order, under God, the character of the community. 
It is ours to win them, if it so please him, for the Lord ; and 
so to do our part in preparing for the Saviour, what he pur- 
chased with his own blood, " a glorious Church, not having 
spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing." Shall we be wanting 
to such responsibilities ? Shall we be negligent of such op- 
portunities ? Difficulties doubtless there are and discourage- 
ments ; and because we cannot do in all respects precisely 
as we would, and precisely when we would, we are tempted 
sometimes to give up the effort in despair. But discourage- 
ments and difficulties are among the tokens that the work 
we are engaged in is of God. Discouragements and diffi- 
culties are a part of that discipline by which the Lord 
would harden us, and strengthen us to do him better ser- 
vice. In the cause of Christ, for the glory of his Church, 
to promote the welfare of our kind, what is there that we 
cannot bear, and what, with God to help us, that we can- 
not do? Remembering that the work is his, that the 
strength is his, that the reward is his, be it ours to give 
ourselves wholly up to do and bear his will. Who are 
we that we should be God's fellow-workers in establishing 
the kingdom of his Son ! How unworthy of that holy fel- 
lowship, if we are not prepared in all things, to die or live 
for its accomplishment ! How animating the assurance of 
that reward in heaven, which — not according to our desert, 
beloved brethren, but according to our desire — shall crown 
and overpay our utmost efforts to do the will of God ! 

My reverend brethren, there is one point of pastoral duty, 
so important to the influence of our office, so absolutely 
indispensable to the success of all your efforts in the care 
of" little children," and yet so apt to be neglected, or per- 
formed imperfectly, that I feel bound in the most solemn 



manner to urge it here and now upon your notice. To 
have an influence with little children, you must domesti- 
cate yourselves among them. A stranger cannot gain 
their love. The pastor who goes in and out among them, 
who calls them by their names, who is among them as a 
father — he gains their confidence, he enshrines himself 
within their hearts. Nor is it only for their sakes that I 
commend and urge the duty of pastoral visitation. To 
" turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, and of the 
fathers to the children," is a work, for which one day in 
seven will not suffice. Though you " speak with the 
tongues of angels," if you do not follow up the lessons of 
the pulpit, " from house to house," among your people, 
your labour will too often be in vain. You must add to 
the authority of the teacher the influence of the friend. 
You must watch for opportunity, lay wait for souls, and 
take them with a holy guile. " If you would have access 
to a man's heart," said that shrewd observer, Richard Cecil, 
" you must go into his house." And it is so. You take 
him by the hand. You sit by his hearth. You are par- 
taker at his board. You are at home with him, and you 
enable him to feel at home with you. You gain his con- 
fidence. You touch the electric chain of sympathy. You 
possess yourself of his affections. You draw him with " the 
cords of a man." — My reverend brethren, you underrate 
what I must call your potential influence with your people, 
and which a little more of pastoral familiarity would render 
actual and effectual. You do not know how much they 
reverence your office. You do not know how well dis- 
posed they are to love your persons. You do not know 
how much they long to speak with you " as a man speak- 
eth with his friend ;" and how many times the smoking 


flax, that at a favourable moment might have kindled into 
flame, has been put out for want of opportunity. Every 
where, my reverend brethren, I receive the liveliest evi- 
dence of the people's approbation of your public labours. 
Too often is it qualified with deep regret, that they are not 
indulged in greater measures with your pastoral inter- 
course. I know that these complaints are sometimes with- 
out reason. But they spring from feelings that do honour 
to your office. They attest the general estimation of your 
personal worth. I rejoice to hear them. I beseech you 
not to disregard them. Accept the challenge which they 
give. Go in, and occupy the willing hearts that wait on 
your acceptance. Win them through Christ. Win them 
to holiness. Win them for heaven. 

My brethren, reverend and beloved, the care of souls is 
a tremendous care. It calls for all our talents, for all our 
efforts, and for all our time. To be faithful in it, to find 
a blessing in it, we must give ourselves wholly up to it, and 
draw our cares and studies all that way. A world is no 
equivalent to one immortal soul. Ten thousand worlds 
would be no purchase for one moment of their endless joy, 
who are " forever with the Lord." 


From little down to least — in due degree, 

Around the Pastor, each in new-wrought vest. 

Each with a vernal posy at his breast, 

We stood, a trembling, earnest company ! 

With low, soft murmur, like a distant bee, 

Some spake, by thought-perplexing fears betrayed ; 

And some a bold unerring answer made ; 

How fluttered then my anxious heart for me, 

Beloved Mother ! Thou whose happy hand 

Had bound the flowers I wore, with faithful tie ; 

Sweet flowers ! at whose inaudible command 

Her countenance, phantom-like, doth re-appear ; 

O lost too early for the frequent tear, 

And ill requited by this heartfelt sigh ! — Wobdsworth. 


Every youth can preach, but he must be a man indeed who can 
profitably catechise. — Thomas Fcllf.ii. 


The terms Catechise, Catechism, and Catechetical, (from 
the Greek word KaT^'u, to sound aloud, to resound,) are 
applied to signify instruction conveyed, not by writing, or 
according to any regular and continued discourse, but by 
some familiar and brief method of vivci voce teaching. Thus 
St. Luke, in his Gospel, chapter i, verses 3 and 4 ; 

not, ypi^at, xpatioti Qeofyite. 

"iva irtvyvus rtSpi oiv xar^vjjfyj "koyuv Tr^v dcf ^aXaav. 

" It seemed good to me also, having had perfect un- 
derstanding of all things from the very first, to write unto 
thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest 
know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been 
instructed," — i. e. I think it right to give you a written and 
succinct account of those things in which you have been 
initiated, or which you have been taught, catechetically* 
or by word of mouth, or by having them sounded in your 

St. Luke uses the same word in a similar sense. — Acts 
xviii. 25. 

OutoJ j]» zaTj^fAEvoj tr^v bSw t& Kiipi's. 

"This man was [catechetically] instructed in the Gos- 
pel." — i. e. He had been initiated in the Gospel, or, he had 
acquired the principles of it, by hearing them delivered to 
him viva voce. 

* Stephens, Parkhurst, Hammond, Horsley. 


That the instruction which Apollos had received was 
elementary only, is clear from the context, ver. 26. "Whom 
when Aquilla and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto 
them, and expounded unto him the way of God more per- 

St. Paul evidently applies the same term in the sense of 
oral instruction, 1 Cor. xiv. 19, — JW xai' aj.ta? xar^r^u, 
" that by my voice I might teach others." 

After the Apostles had adopted the word, it was in very 
common use among the Fathers of the Primitive Church, 
to signify their peculiar mode of teaching the rudiments of 
Christianity by question and answer, and by impressing 
the lessons of the Gospel on the hearts of their Neophytes 
by frequent repetition. 

Hence the Catechist was said to instruct, by making the 
elements of Christian doctrine resound in the ears of his 
students ; and the Catechumen was said to be taught by 
repeating the words addressed to him, and by answering 

"Catechism," says Comber, "according to the definition 
of an ancient author, is, the knowledge of Religion frst 
delivered to the ignorant by the Catechist, and then by 
them repeated over and orer again. Kar^j;itj litiv 

iftiatr^fi.r' OfOSfjSti'aj foTf drtfi'poiy , -/) 5= rtapa6o£f;iaa £co xa.Tr;- 

^fov, xai rtaxiv artoSoSstua \i7t aurwy." — Clemens Alexan- 
drinus. Which, continues Comber, appears farther from 
the very original of the word, being derived from fyu, that 
is an echo, or a repeated sound ; because the Catechist did 
first teach them, and then, by way of question, try if they 
had learnt what he had delivered to them : which gave good 
grounds to the authors of the Roman Catechism to say, 
" That the manner of the Apostle's Catechising, which the 


Church yet imitates, in the mysteries of Baptism, consisted 
of Questions and Answers." 

Another Expositor of Catechetical instruction calls Cat- 
echising " A general instruction in the fundamental prin- 
ciples of the Christian Religion, by way of question and 

I have merely to add to this statement, that the question- 
ing and answering must be mutual, and that the Catechist 
does not do his duty by the Catechumen, unless he gives 
him an opportunity not only of repeating the lesson, but of 
asking for explanations, and of returning the sense as well 
echoing back the sound of his instructor. 


Those other divine discourses en- 
riche the brain and the tongue; 
this settles the heart : those other 
are but the descants to this plaine 
song. Contemn it not, my bre- 
thren, for its easie and noted home- 
linesse; the most excellent and 
beneficial things are most familiar. 



Mt Lord, 

As one of the Incumbents in your Lordship's dio- 
cese, I had the advantage of hearing that Charge, in which 
you dwelt with considerable earnestness upon the duty of 
Catechising, a duty which has been well defined * to be, 
" Instruction communicated by asking questions, and hear- 
ing and correcting the answers." 

Your Lordship's directions upon this subject were pre- 
ceded by some strong observations upon the relation which 
ought to subsist between a parochial Clergyman and his 
congregation, — and upon the means that should be adopted 
to bring the parishioner, from his earliest days, into imme- 
diate contact with his spiritual guide. 

I have reason to be thankful for the impression, for the 
deep and lasting impression, which this part of your Lord- 
ship's Charge left on my mind. It led me to think more 
seriously, than I had ever done before, upon the practica- 
bility of establishing the relation which you recommended, 
and of having recourse to those primitive ordinances, and 
to the exercise of those eudearing pastoral duties, which 
cannot fail of attaching the people to their constituted min- 
isters. Having derived benefit from your Lordship's sug- 
gestions, and having been permitted, as I trust, to become 
an instrument of that good to others, which is likely to re- 
suit from a regular system of catechetical instruction, I am 
anxious to give some publicity to the mode which I have 

• Bishop Mailt. Notes on the Catechism. 


pursued, in conformity with your directions, and to its suc- 
cessful issue. It is for this reason that I now address your 
Lordship ; and I am encouraged to do so, not only by the 
patient ear, which you have always lent to every personal 
communication, when I have reported from time to time 
the progress of my experiment, — but also by the desire ex. 
pressed by your Lordship, that I should commit an account 
of it to print. But judging from one or two of the senti- 
ments expressed in your Charge, that much as you wish 
and hope to see public catechising resumed, you entertain 
doubts as to the success, which may attend it equally in all 
places, I shall venture to follow your Lordship through 
your remarks, and to throw out a few reflections, as I pro- 
ceed, upon the duty and expediency of a universal obedi- 
ence to the instructions of the Church on this subject, be- 
fore I enter upon an explanation of the system pursued by 


The following is the passage in your Lordship's Charge, 
to which I feel indebted for an impulse, which has given a 
new and more efficient character to my ministerial labours. 

" The general disuse into which this practice (Catechi- 
sing) has fallen, I consider as calamitous to the interests of 
piety in the highest degree, not only by removing one of 
the strongest incitements to the parents to teach, and to 
the children to learn, the doctrines and laws of their Chris- 
tian profession, but still more by its fatal efTect in frustrat- 
ing the purpose, which it was the principal object of the 


ordinances relating to these points to attain. If at the age 
when the mind is susceptible of the strongest impressions, 
the young are regularly brought into personal intercourse 
with their minister, and accustomed to receive their instruc- 
tions from his lips, they will naturally imbibe a respect for 
his person, and a reverence to the sacred character of his 
office, which will prove the strongest of barriers against 
immorality and vice, as well as dissent and infidelity. 
They will regard with deep veneration the truths which 
they have received upon his authority, and will feel, — what 
reasoning can hardly make clear to the ignorant, — the dan- 
ger no less of guilt than of error, in deserting the appointed 
guide of their youth for intrusive and unknown teachers. 
The discontinuance of this salutary practice is imputable, 
neither to the neglect of the ecclesiastical governors, — for 
they have constantly remonstrated against it, — nor to the 
indolence of the parochial Clergy ; but was a concession 
most reluctantly yielded to the fastidious impatience of 
their congregations. 

" I am not so fondly attached to ancient usages, however 
beneficial in themselves, as to press the crude and hasty 
revival of a method of teaching, which, at least in its ordi- 
nary form, has proved on experience unsuitable to the 
habits and feelings of modern times. To ensure success 
to the experiment, much judgment would be requisite in 
preparing the way by the previous removal of objections, 
and improving the practice itself by such modifications, as 
would render it popular as well as useful."* 

[* The admirable Charge hero citeJ was delivered by Dr. How- 
ley, the present Archbishop of Canterbury, when Bishop of London, 
at his Visitation, in July, 1822.— American Editor:] 




Very soon after hearing your Lordship deliver these 
sentiments, I visited the continent ; but the impression was 
not to be effaced by time or distance, nay, I may confi- 
dently affirm that the convictions of my mind were strength- 
ened during this visit, and that my intercourse with stran- 
gers, and my personal observation of the practice of foreign 
Clergy, made it more and more clear to me, that parochial 
discipline cannot be duly maintained, without the assistance 
of a regular Catechetical system. 

The Roman Catholic priesthood are by far too prudent 
to lose the advantages, which are gained from an early 
and uninterrupted relation with the younger part of their 
flock. "Feed my lambs," is an injunction which they 
obey to the very letter ; and they suffer none, no, not even 
parents themselves, to stand between them and their sacred 
duty in this department.* It is from the priest's lips that 
the children of the Romish communion of every degree, re- 
ceive religious instruction, as soon as they can well under- 
stand what religion is ; and they naturally reverence the 
teacher, who first approaches them in the venerable char- 
acter of God's minister, and love the instructor, who min- 
gles words of kindness and encouragement with his solemn 
lessons of Christianity. I bear willing testimony to the 
zealous and affectionate manner in which the Romish Cler- 
gy acquit themselves in this duty. The council of Trentf 

[ * Would that we were but as wise ! We should not then hear of 
Protestant children brought up in troops at Romish Schools — a fa- 
vour which they never reciprocate. — Am. Ed.] 

•f Concil. Trid. Sess. 24. 


had the sagacity to make catechising one of the most bind- 
ing of the sacerdotal services ; and in the Preface of the 
Catechism which was first published by order of this coun- 
cil, a curious remark occurs, which shows how great an 
advantage is to be gained over our adversaries by strict at- 
tention to this duty. " The age is sadly sensible what mis- 
chief the Protestants have done the Catholic Church, not 
only by their tongues, but especially by their writings 
called Catechisms." 

The ministers of the Church of Rome have the good 
sense to obey the Canon, not as " by constraint, but wil- 
lingly ;" and in sincere admiration of their conduct in this 
respect, I cannot forbear applying to them the whole of 
that scriptural passage, towards which my thoughts have 
been led, and adding, that if, in taking the oversight of 
their flock, with a ready mind, they bear themselves to- 
wards their youthful charge, as the Apostle enjoined, so 
they may likewise be fairly held up to us, as " examples." 

Nothing can be more kind or parental than their cate- 
chetical examinations. They do not leave it to parish 
clerks, or to teachers of an ordinary stamp, to drawl 
through the same form of words, day after day, and to se- 
cure rote without meaning, but they themselves are the ju- 
dicious expounders. I have entered Churches in France, 
in Italy, and in Switzerland, and have witnessed the same 
beautiful scene of a parish priest, surrounded by children 
of various ranks and ages, mildly questioning, patiently 
explaining, exhorting, reproving, and instructing like " a 
man of God," rewarding with smiles of approbation, and 
rewarded in return by the happy and animated looks of the 
cheerful circle. In almost all the cases to which I allude, 
I myself, was the only spectator, and that too often-times, 
unseen by the priest ; who therefore was manifestly dis- 


charging this interesting duty, not to be heard or seen of 
men, but to obtain that influence over his juvenile audience, 
which the sanctity of his office may justly claim. 


My Lord, the same practice, and the same tender and 
watchful concern over the rising generation, prevail among 
the Clergy of the Roman Catholic Church in England. 
They begin to exert their influence during the earliest in- 
fancy ; they do not suffer catechising to fall into inefficient 
hands ; they do not conduct it as a mere formulary ; they 
do not confine it to seasons, but they make it to be of sub- 
stantial, and lasting use, by obtaining through its instru- 
mentality a fast hold upon the affections and respect of 
their flock. It will not be out of place to remark, that I 
am inclined to attribute a very great measure of the suc- 
cess which the papists have had of late, in effecting con- 
version, to the mode of catechising which they have adopted. 
Their catechetical instructions are not given, as on the Con- 
tinent, merely with a view to the benefit of young hearers, 
of their own communion, but to seduce such of our people 
as may chance to drop in, and listen to them. For this 
purpose all possible notoriety is extended to the proceeding, 
and the opportunity is embraced, of putting forth such apo- 
logetical, familiar, and attraotive,* expositions of their doc- 
trine and discipline, as may lead astray the unsettled and 
wavering professors of a purer faith. 

• The following extract from the form of Catechism, " recom- 



This sort of effort answers the purpose better than all 
the controversy in the world ; it is the argument of an ac- 
tive life which convinces common understandings : and if 

mended by authority, for the use of the faithful in the four districts 
in England," under the signature of the four Vicars Apostolic, will 
give some idea of the manner in which catechising is conducted in 
this country by the Roman Catholics. — 

The first Commandment. 
Q. Say the first Commandment* 

A. I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt, and out of the house of bondage. 

Thou shall not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not 
make to thyself any graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing 
that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things 
that are in the -waters under the earth ; thou shalt not adore them, 
nor serve them. Iam the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting 
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth 
generation of them that hate me: and shewing mercy unto thou- 
sands to them that love me, and keep my commandments. Eiod. 
xx. 2. 6. 

Q. Why put you all this in one commandment"! 

A. Because it all relates to one and the same thing. 

Q. Does not the Scripture say that these words, Thou shalt not 
make to thyself any graven thing, are the second commandment? 

A. No : the Scripture does not say which is the first, second, or 
third commandment. 

Q. Do not those words, Thou shalt not make to thyself any gra- 
ven thing, forbid the making of images'? 

A. No : they forbid the making only of idols ; that is, they forbid 
making images to be adored, or honoured, as gods : as it is declared 
in these words, Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them. So that 
the words, Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven thing, &c. are 
only an explanation of the foregoing words, Thou shalt not have 


our own Clergy would take similar pains to render their 
personal office a pattern of zeal, marked by affection, they 
would be rebuilding the Church upon a basis of moral 
strength, against which the storm raised by papists or 

strange gods before me. We, therefore, with Saint Augustine, 
make of them but one commandment. 

Q. What is meant by these first words, I am the Lord thy God, & c.1 

A. By these God declares to us, that he is our true and supreme 
Lord, and therefore we are obliged to obey him with all diligence. 

Q. What are we commanded by this first commandment? 

A. By the first commandment, we are commanded to love, serve, 
and worship one only true and living God, and no more. 

Q. What is forbidden by the first commandment ? 

A. The first commandment forbids us to worship idols, or give to 
any creature the honour due to God ? 

Q. What is the honour due to God ? 

A. The honour due to God is a supreme and sovereign honour, 
which can be given to no other : we must worship him as our Crea- 
tor, Redeemer, and last end. 

Q. Is it lawful to honour the images of Christ and his saints? 

A. Yes : it is lawful to honour the images of Christ and his saints, 
with an inferior and relative honour, because the honour given them 
is referred to the things they represent : so that by kissing the cross, 
or the images of Christ, and by kneeling before them, we honour 
and adore Christ himself. 

Q. Do Catholics pray to images ? 

A. No, by no means ; we pray before them indeed, to keep us 
from distractions, but not to them ; for we know they can neither 
see, nor hear, nor help us. 

Q. What benefit have we then by them ? 

A. They movingly represent to us the mysteries of our Saviour's 
passion, and the martyrdom of his saints. 

Q. What benefit have wc by honouring and canonizing saints? 

A. It strongly moves us to imitate their example, by showing us 
their rewards. 


separatists, would beat in vain. I would say with Arch- 
deacon Bayley, in his admirable charge,* " Let it not be a 
matter of offence, if I venture to declare my honest opinion, 
that in this labour of love, we, the Establishment, have yet 
somewhat to learn from other Protestant Societies, more 
especially from the Priesthood of the Roman Catholic com- 
munion. They are wise in their generation. And as we 
we were long since, and truly told, < if we hope to be a 
match for them, we must imitate them."'f 

Instruction given in Sunday, Charity, or National 

Q. How do we honour saints and angels'! 

A. We honour saints and angels with an inferior honour, as the 
friends and creatures of God, not as gods, nor with God's honour. 

Q. Is it lawful to honour the relics of saints 1 

A. Yes, with a relative honour, as above explained ; for the hand- 
kerchiefs and aprons which had but touched the body of St. Paul, 
cast out devils, and cured all diseases. Acts xix. 12. 

•To the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Stowe, May, 1826. 

■)■ The observations which Bishop Burnet made upon this subject, 
more than 1 30 years ago, are so strictly applicable to the present 
times, that I cannot forbear recording them in this place. " Though 
there is still much ignorance among their mass-priests, their parish- 
priests are generally another sort of men. They are well instructed 
in their religion, lead regular lives, and perform their parochial du- 
ties with most wonderful diligence. They are almost perpetually 
employing themselves in the several parts of their cures : — instruct- 
ing the youth — hearing confessions, and visiting the sick, &c. So 
that the reformation which popery hath been forced to make, has in 
a great measure stopped the progress of the reformation of the doc- 
trinal worship, that did so long carry every thing before it." — Pre- 
face to Pastoral Care. — "The argument," said Bumet, in another 
place, " in favour of the Church, how clearly so ever made out, will 
never have a full effect upon the world, till we can show a primitive 
spirit in its administration." 


Schools, is not an evidence of pastoral anxiety, equal to 
that of catechetical instruction in Church, it being conducted 
for the most part with closed doors ; and constant as a 
minister's attendance may be in those schools, his labours 
are unknown to his parishioners at large. Where is the 
wonder, then, that unreflecting persons, who try modes of 
faith by the zeal of its ministers, and who have had no op- 
portunity of seeing their own Clergy display anxious in- 
terest in the religious cultivation of the younger portion of 
his flock, should be half won over to the side of the Ro- 
man Catholic priest, when he beholds him devoting him- 
self to the spiritual improvement of the youngest and hum- 
blest, and dullest of his congregation, and hears him ex- 
plaining the most beguiling of papal doctrines, in a voice 
and with a manner which seems to prove that his whole 
heart is in the cause ? 


My Lord, I do not speak unadvisedly, nor ill-naturedly, 
(for it is not in the shape of a charge against them that I 
adduce the fact, (when I touch upon the seductive intention 
and the seductive effect, of the catechetical lectures held by 
Roman Catholic Priests in England. There is, in the im- 
mediate vicinity of London, one of the most flourishing of 
their establishments for the education of poor children. 
Many of those admitted here are the children of Protestant* 

* The following case has been communicated to me by the gen- 
tleman who took it down, as it was detailed by the mouth of his in- 


parents, girls especially, for it is an object to gain over fe- 
males, the future mothers of families. Their infatuated 
parents have been tempted to send them to this institution, 
not merely for the sake of the aid which it affords to per- 
sons of large families in an humble condition of life, — but 
by the effect which the priests' mode of catechising has had 
upon their own judgment or imagination. 

A reference to " The Laity's Directory to the Church 
Service, for the year 1828," published for Roman Catho- 
lics, with the authority of the Vicar Apostolic in England, 
will furnish some solid proofs of the importance which the 
Hierarchy of Rome attach to the duty of catechising young 

formant. The child to whom it relates is now a well-behaved and 
intelligent scholar of the Sunday school of Somers-Town, New 

"About two years and a half ago, soon after my being left by my 
husband, a tall person, (a priest) called upon me, and having asked 
me if my name was not Fames, enquired if I had not a child. I re- 
plied, yes. He then asked how I provided for him. I told him by my 
own labour ; he then asked, did I not find it very difficult to do it ? 
and, upon my replying that I did, he said, does he go to any school 1 
I told him to Perry-street, a school conducted on the Lancastrian sys- 
tem, where the children's friends pay 2d per week, for the instruction 
given. He then said, had I not better send him to some charity 
school 1 I replied, I should be glad if I could get him into one 
where he could be boarded; upon this he told me he knew where 
there was such an one ; I then asked where, and if he could inform 
me how I could get him into it? He told me to come at 8 o'clock, 
(I think it was at eight o'clock) on the next Sunday morning, to the 
Roman Catholic chapel in Clarendon-square. Oh ! I said, you want 
to make a Catholic of him then ? He said, no, he might come to the 
school and not be a Catholic; and if I would send him every morn- 
ing by eight o'clock, that they would keep him ; they had a great 
number they did so by. I said they did not allow them to read the 


persons publicly, in the place of divine worship. The hour 
of catechising is regularly advertised among the services of 
the Church: and in the notices of twenty -five .chapels in, 
or very near London, care is taken to announce that cate- 
chetical instruction forms part of the solemnities of eleven 
out of that number. For example, 

" St. Mary's, Moorfields. A discourse after the gospel 
at high mass, and vespers on Sundays at three o'clock, and 
catechism immediately after." 

" Sardinian chapel, Duke-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields. Af- 
ter the gospel, at high mass on Sunday, a discourse in En- 
glish : vespers at three o'clock, immediately after which 
catechism, and a catechetical discourse." 

Bible ; — he replied they did, those parts which were fit for them, and 
that they taught children their duty to their parents, that the Catho- 
lic children were much better behaved than the Perry-street boys. 
Then I perceive you are a Catholic yourself, I observed. He replied) 
rather so. I then said, I could not agree to his going : he said I was 
very wrong, for if I did, that I might be sure I should have employ- 
ment for myself, and my child provided for ; he desired me to come 
on the following Sunday, and hear the children catechised, he was 
sure I should approve of it. I told him I would consider of it. He 
then left me ; but came again in about a fortnight, and complained 
that I was not at the chapel. He then asked where was your boy 
on the Sabbath day, if you were out at work 1 He told me if I 
would come on the Sunday morning to the chapel, I should be re- 
lieved ; that I need not work on the Sabbath-day : I stated I had been 
in a Roman Catholic chapel but twice, and in my present mind, I 
should not enter one again. He then left me, saying, he should call 
again ; but did not. — Throughout these conversations he called me 
his child." 

It is notorious that many Protestant children, drawn away thus, 
are brought up in this Roman Catholic establishment. One poor 
man has been persuaded to send two of his children there. 


" Chelsea New Chapel. Catechism at half-past two, and 
vespers, with benediction, at half-past three." 

" London Road. Vespers in summer at half-past three, 
in winter at three o'clock : after vespers the catechism ex- 

"Somers Town. At six, catechism, followed by the 
benediction of the blessed Sacrament." 


It would be needless to produce any further testimony of 
the exemplary anxiety displayed by the Romish clergy to 
bring themselves into regular intercourse with the young. I 
will therefore proceed to make a few brief remarks upon 
the value, which the Protestant, as well as Roman Catholic, 
Churches on the Continent attach to public catechising, as 
an indispensable branch of the clerical office. 

De Thou's account of the pains, which the ministers of 
the Reformed Churches of France took, in past times, to 
lay a good foundation, at an age, when the mind is suscep- 
tible of the strongest impressions, is literally applicable to 
the present period of their ecclesiastical history. "You 
can scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give you 
an intelligible account of the faith they profess." This was 
said of them two hundred and fifty years ago : and, at a 
still earlier date, a Popish theologian, who was sent to con- 
vert the Protestants of Dauphine, came back ashamed of 
his errand, and avowed that it was a hopeless case to at- 
tempt to make proselytes, in a quarter where the youngest 
were so well grounded in the principles of their creed by 


their pastors.* " I have learnt," exclaimed he, " more of 
the doctrine of salvation from the answers of little children 
in their Catechism, than in all my previous studies."! 

It is well known, that the Protestant congregations in 
France and Switzerland, in their solicitude to remove as 
far as possible from the stumbling blocks of Popish error, 
tolerate but very few forms of prayer. Most of them have, 
however, strongly marked their sense of the expediency of 
public catechising, by admitting into their simple Liturgies 
an order of service and form of prayer used for the prepar- 
ation of Catechumens. But it is not in the sanctuary only, 
that our Protestant brethren on the Continent impress upon 
the minds of their juvenile congregations the awful respon- 
sibility of the Christian covenant. They follow them to 
their houses at stated intervals; and, extending their pas- 
toral care to old as well as to young, they ask for an ac- 
count of their studies and meditations in the bosoms of their 
families. I have now an extract from a traveller's letter 
before me, in which he writes thus of one of these inter- 
esting scenes. 

" The pastor of was engaged in his district ex- 
amination. The intention of this is to ascertain the reli- 
gious and moral state of each hamlet. During the short 
time we witnessed his labours, he asked his people if any 
of them wished for an explanation of any particular pas- 
sages of Scripture, which they had not clearly understood. 
After having addressed himself to almost every one in par- 

[ * An incident worthy of all observation. — Am. Ed.] 

[ | The exercise of Catechising is to the teacher himself a constant 

source of instruction and improvement. Let any try who doubt. — 

Am. Ed.] 


ticular, he concluded by a most affectionate exhortation, 
and a solemn prayer." 

I myself had the satisfaction of being present at more than 
one of the Catechetical lectures, which constitute a regular 
division of the parochial minister's labours in the Protestant 
valleys of Piedmont. At stated periods, the Churches are 
opened on Mondays and Wednesdays for this mode of in- 
struction expressly, and it is uniformly imparted by the 
pastors themselves, although each village has its appointed 
schoolmaster. Happily, the parochial clergy in these se- 
cluded regions, are too sensibly alive to the interests of reli- 
gion, to resign religious instruction entirely to lay-teachers. 


The effect of this watchfulness over the spiritual progress 
of their youthful flock is exactly what your Lordship has 
so well expressed. " If the young are brought into regu- 
lar intercourse with their ministers, and accustomed to re- 
ceive their instructions from his lips, they will naturally 
imbibe a respect for his person, and a reverence for the sa- 
cred character of his office, which will prove the strongest 
of barriers against immorality and vice, as well as dissent 
and infidelity. They will regard with deep veneration the 
truths which they have received upon his authority, and 
will feel what reasoning can hardly make clear to the ig- 
norant, the danger no less of guilt than of error in desert- 
ing the appointed guide of their youth, for intrusive and 
unknown teachers." Should there ever be that general 


disuse of the practice of catechising in the little Church of 
the valleys, which your Lordship bewails in this country, 
as being « calamitous to the interests of piety in the highest 
degree," and which has been well pronounced by another 
authority to be " as unreasonable, as the effect is disas- 
trous," I am persuaded that the light which has been permit- 
ted by Divine Providence, to shine so long in the midst of 
Papal darkness, will soon tremble in its lamp, and finally 
be extinguished by Papal violence or stratagem. 

I began this letter by expressing my gratitude to your 
Lordship for directing my attention to the serious duty, 
which, I trust nothing will ever induce me to neglect ; the 
mention of the Vaudois of Piemont, leads me to acknowl- 
edge another heavy debt, (and the digression will be al- 
lowed,) under which they and I are bound to you. 

It required the influence of exhortation and example to 
render successful those endeavours, which humbler advo- 
cates were making in behalf of this Protestant community. 
Had not their cause been espoused by some person in au- 
thority, it would have been hopeless. You, my Lord, 
were the first to extend that aid which the case required. 
Your influence, your advice, your time were freely given. 
In the midst of many other pressing occupations, you were 
always accessible. May you long have opportunities of 
exercising one of the most graceful privileges of high sta- 
tion, and continue to secure permanent sentiments of re- 
spect, by similar instances of kindness and consideration ! 

To return to the more immediate subject in view. Your 
Lordship has stated that the discontinuance of the salutary 
practice of catechising " is imputable neither to the neglect 
of the ecclesiastical governors, for they have constantly re- 


monstrated against it, nor to the indolence of the parochial 
Clergy ; but was a concession most reluctantly yielded to 
the fastidious impatience of their congregations." 


My Lord, you have done no more than justice to the 
heads of our Church, in saying that they have constantly 
remonstrated against the neglect of this duty. The char- 
ges of our most distinguished Prelates, for the last century 
and a half, abound in expostulations with their Clergy on 
account of their dereliction of it. Indeed the Liturgy, the 
Canons, and the Rubric demand so strict an attention to 
the letter of the precept, that it is impossible for our eccle- 
siastical governors to pass over the violation of it in silence. 

But, my Lord, I cannot help entertaining an opinion, 
that little as the custom of catechising seems to prevail at 
this time among the established Clergy of England, as 
much attention is paid to the duty by the reflecting portion 
of the profession now, as at any former period of our ec- 
clesiastical history. Yes, lamentably remiss as we are in 
this point, I think we can bear comparison with our ances- 
tors, taken as a body. The theory of catechetical instruc- 
tion has always been admitted to be beautiful ; but, with 
strange inconsistency, the practice has ever been slack and 
irregular.* My judgment is formed upon the injunctions 

[Why should it be so 1— Am. Ed.] 


and canons which have been put forth from time to time, 
imposing penalties upon the non-performance of this ser- 
vice, and upon the complaints which have never ceased to 
issue from Archbishops and Bishops. So that it is really 
difficult to ascertain which was the golden period, when 
this " godly discipline, and laudable custom of the Church 
of England," was in perfection. 

Archbishop Cranmer spoke of its neglect, in the Dedica- 
tion of his Catechism* to king Edward the Sixth, in the 
year 1548, although a royal injunction for its strict obser- 
vance had been promulgated in the former reign, twelve 
years before. 


Public authority twice interfered during the last Ed- 
ward's brief sovereignty. But what great benefit could be 
expected from a limited order like the following? 

" The curate of every parish, once in six weeks at the 
least, upon warning by him given, shall upon some Sun- 
day, or holiday, half an hour before evensong, openly in 
the Church, instruct, and examine so many children of his 
parish sent unto him, as the time will serve, and as he shall 
think convenient, in some part of this catechism.")" And 
all fathers, mothers, masters, and dames, shall cause their 

* See Burnet's History of the Reformation. Vol. II. 71. 

■j- This catechism was nearly the same as that now in use, save 
that the part which relates to the sacraments, had not yet been ad- 
ded. It was introduced after the conference in the reign of king 
James I. between the Episcopalians and Puritans. 


children, servants, and apprentices (which are not yet con- 
firmed,) to come to the Church, at the time appointed, and 
obediently hear, and be ordered by the curate, until such 
lime as they have learnt all that is here appointed for them 
to learn." 2. 5, Ed. VI. 

An interval of six weeks * was permitted to elapse be- 
tween each act of public instruction, and even then the 
time specified was half an hour only. Little, indeed, was 
likely to be gained, by such a process, on the part of an 
illiterate population, very few of whom could read; and 
whose ignorance therefore required that the curate should 
recite the leading articles of our faith, little by little, till 
the learners could repeat them by heart. 


It is manifest enough, that nothing very effectual could 
result from such an infrequent exercise of the duty, as that 
with which the framers of Edward's injunction would have 
been satisfied. And so it was found ; for by a very early 
act of queen Elizabeth, the curate was required to perform 
this service every second Sunday. The Constitutions of 
1571 improved upon this provision, and inserted a clause 
to the following effect : 

* The injunctions and articles to be enquired of at the king's visi- 
tation, in 1547, contained a query, put to " parsons, vicars, and cu- 
rates," which was better calculated to secure the attention of the 
Clergy, " Have you, on Sundays and holidays, taught your parish- 
ioners, and especially the youth, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and 
the ten commandments, and expounded the same? " 


" On every Sunday, and holiday, at twelve o'clock, the 
Clergy shall repair to their Churches, and there spend two 
hours at least in reading and explaining the catechism ; 
and they shall instruct therein all their parishioners, of 
every age and condition ; and they shall take especial care 
that none be permitted* to receive the Communion, or to 
contract marriage, &c. before they can well and sufficient- 
ly answer all the questions in the catechism.f" 

From thenceforward we might suppose, that the object 
of the Church was completely attained, and that clergy 
and people submitted equally to this preremptory law. But 
no ! twenty years afterwards, Archbishop Whitgift felt 
himself constrained to notice the desuetude into which the 
practice had fallen, and to exhort his suffragans, " In the 
fear of God, according to their pastoral care, and by the 
duty which they owed both to God and his Church, to give 
straight charge to the clergy and their parishioners, to see 
that the children, and other ignorant persons, were duly 
instructed, and examined in their catechism, as, by the 
orders of the Church, they ought to be.":}: 

* Another penalty proposed during this arbitrary reign, was, 
" That he, whose child, at ten years old and upwards, was not able 
to say the catechism, should pay ten shillings to the poor's box ; the 
like penalty to be inflicted upon masters and mistresses, who had 
servants of fourteen years and upwards, who could not say the cate- 
chism by heart." 

f Wilk. iv. 265. 

* " Anno. 1591. Reg. Whitgift, vol. i. 185." 



The 59th of " the Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiasti- 
cal," agreed on in 1603, departed, in some degree, from 
the severity of Elizabeth's enactments, but its penal char- 
acter proves that the continued laxity of the clergy still 
demanded a coercive hand. 

" Every parson, vicar, or curate, upon every Sunday 
and holy day, before evening prayer, shall, for half an 
hour and more, examine and instruct the youth, and igno- 
rant persons of his parish, in the ten commandments, the 
Articles of the Belief, and in the Lord's Prayer : and shall 
diligently hear, instruct, and teach them the catechism, set 
forth in the Book of the Common Prayer. And all fathers, 
mothers, masters, and mistresses, shall cause their chil- 
dren, servants, and apprentices, which have not learned 
the catechism, to come to the church, at the time appointed, 
obediently to hear, and to be ordered by the minister un- 
til they have learned the same. And if any minister neglect 
his duty herein, let him be sharply reproved upon the first 
complaint, and true notice thereof given to the Bishop or 
Ordinary of the place. If, after submitting himself, he 
shall wilfully offend again, let him be suspended. If so 
the third time, there being little hope he will be therein 
reformed, then excommunicated, and so remain, until he 
will be reformed. And likewise if any of the said fathers, 
masters, mistresses of the children, servants, or appren- 
tices, shall neglect their duties, as the one sort in not caus- 
ing them to come, and the other in refusing to learn, as 
aforesaid, let them be suspended by their Ordinaries, (if 
they be not children,) and if they so persist by the space 
of a month, then let them be excommunicated." 


It is manifest from the terms, " examine and instrvct," 
and " shall diligently hear, instruct, and teach," that the 
canon exacts much more, than that the clergyman should 
merely hear the children say the form of Church catechism 
by rote. A careful instruction in the principles therein set 
forth is the object of this canon : and in bishop Gibson's 
" Codex Juris Ecclesiastici Anglicani," we find a note upon 
the words " examine and instruct the youth," to the fol- 
lowing effect : — 

" In the Reformatio Legum there is an excellent rule 
upon this head. One hour or more in the afternoon ser- 
vice, f Let the parish priest take up the Catechism, and 
give great attention to the explanation of it; for a frequent 
exposition of the Catechism is of the utmost use and benefit 
in the Church of God. And we wish this instruction to 
be given not only to the children, but to the young persons 
who are growing up, that they also may be well informed 
in the principles of their religion, and that the assiduity of 
the children may be stimulated by their presence.' " 

But whether it was, that the express mention of the Ten 
Commandments, the Articles of the Belief, and the Lortfs 
Prayer, gave such a formal and limited construction to 
the canon, as to defeat the more substantial object regarded 
by the clause that immediately follows : viz. " shall diligent- 
ly hear, instruct, and teach them the Catechism," &c. — or 
that the service was rendered obnoxious by its appearance 
of constraint, and by the penalties attached to the non- 
performance of the duty, menacing both the negligent min- 
ister, and the careless parents and masters, who would 
not send their children to be so taught, — certain it is, that 
the Church gained nothing in point of true allegiance by 
having her ordinance thus defined and enforced. 


" Your Majesty," said a Right Reverend preacher be- 
fore King James, in 1624, « can never be sufficiently com- 
mended, in taking order, that the chief heads of the Cate- 
chism should, in the ordinary ministry, be diligently pro- 
pounded, and explained unto the people throughout the 
land ; which I wish were as duly executed every where, 
as teas piously by you intended" 

About the same period, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
in a letter written to the Archbishop of York, complained 
thus grievously of the neglect of catechising, by the En- 
glish Clergy : " The which kind of teaching, (to our amend- 
ment be it spoken,) is more diligently observed in all the 
reformed Churches of Europe, than of late it hath been 
here in England. I find his majesty much moved with 
this neglect, and resolved, if we Bishops do not see a refor- 
mation hereof, which I trust we shall, to recommend it to 
the care of the civil magistrate." 

RUBRIC OF 1661. 

In pursuing the enquiry, we shall find that the rubrics, 
which were re-modelled in the reign of Charles II, have 
not been much more successful, although they are in their 
nature more obligatory than the canons, because they are 
made binding by statute, as well as ecclesiastical law. 
Within so short a period as ten years after their enactment, 
Archbishop Sheldon, by the king's command, sent letters 
to the Bishops, requiring them "to enforce the execution 
of such laws and constitutions, as enabled them to enjoin 
the use and exercise of our Church Catechism;" a pretty 


clear proof of the general carelessness. Cosins, Bishop of 
Durham, must have understood the extent of this insuffi- 
ciency, when he observed,* that the rubric is expressed in 
indefinite terms, and that a parochial Clergyman is not 
obliged by it to catechise more frequently than he himself 
thinks necessary. In one respect, by changing the time 
from " half an hour before evening prayer," to an interval 
" after the second Lesson," it varies directly from the 59th 
canon, and so far the trumpet of the law gives an uncer- 
tain sound. "The curate of every parish shall diligently, 
upon Sundays and holy days, after the second Lesson at 
evening prayer, openly in the Church instruct and exam- 
ine so many children of his parish, sent unto him, as he 
shall think convenient, in some part of the Catechism." f 


The principal inconvenience of this rubric is found in 
the time it enjoins for the exercise of the duty, which sel- 
dom fails of exciting impatience in the congregation, and 
of producing results inconsistent with the spirit of the ordi- 

* See Shepherd on the Common Prayer, vol. ii. p. 276. 

[■J- The requirements for the discharge of this duty among us are 
rubrical and canonical. The rubric before the Catechism, or rather 
the title of the Catechism, declares it "an instruction, to be learned 
by every person before he be brought to be confirmed by the Bishop." 
The rubrics after the Catechism prescribe that "the minister of 
every parish shall diligently, upon Sundays and Holy-days, or on 
some other convenient occasions, openly, in the Church, instruct or 


nance. To catechise during an interval of Divine Service, 
is to lose the effect of that more familiar and personal ex- 
amination of each child, according to the nature of his 
answers, which is the life and essence of the practice. 
Moreover, while the minister is in the midst of the evening 
prayer, and the congregation are silenced by the solemnity 
of the Liturgy, it may be thought ill-timed and injurious 
to the seriousness of their devotion, to interrupt them by a 
process of interrogation, which may, occasionally, sink into 
the ridiculous, by the replies of simple and ignorant child- 

I should be sorry to put any wrong construction upon 
your Lordship's sentiments, but I consider, that the follow- 
ing passage in your Lordship's charge, has reference to 
the inutility of confining ourselves to the system proposed 
by the Rubric, and gives some warrant to the observations 
which I have just hazarded. " I am not so fondly attached 
to ancient usages, however beneficial in themselves, as to 
press the crude and hasty revival of a method of teaching, 

examine so many of the children of his parish, sent unto him, as he 
shall think convenient, in some part of this Catechism." And again> 
" all fathers, mothers, masters and mistresses, shall cause their chil- 
dren, servants and apprentices, who have not learned their Cate- 
chism, to come to the Church at the time appointed, and obediently 
to hear, and to be ordered by the minister, until such time as they 
have learned all that is here appointed for them to learn." The 
Canon (twenty-eighth of 1832,) prescribes that " the ministers of 
this Church, who have charge of parishes or cures, shall not only 
be diligent in instructing the children in the Catechism, but shall 
also, by stated catechetical lectures and instruction, be diligent in in- 
forming the youth and others in the doctrines, constitution and litur- 
gy of the Church."— Am. Ed.} 


which, at least in its ordinary form, has proved, on expe- 
rience, unsuitable to the habits and feelings of modern 

What, indeed, is more likely to render a congregation 
impatient, than to make a break in their devotions, for the 
purpose of an exhibition, which has nothing in it either of 
an instructive or impressive nature 1 They can say the 
Catechism themselves, and they are aware, that the chil- 
dren who are commanded to stand up before them, can 
also repeat it. It is a congregational, and not a scholastic 
exercise that is required: a service which shall employ 
men's thoughts, remind them of that which they have for- 
gotten, or explain that which they do not understand. A 
well known manual, equally familiar to all present, repealed 
over and over again, Sunday after Sunday, cannot by 
any possibility produce the effect contemplated by those 
who enjoined the ordinance. It might answer some good 
when very few could read, and when the children, appren- 
tices, and servants, had no other means of acquiring the 
form of words, contained in the leading articles of the 
Catechism, than from the mouth of the priest, as he dis- 
tinctly recited them from the desk or pulpit. But now, 
when it may be taken for granted, that the form is well 
taught elsewhere, and that the attendant at Church is de- 
sirous to leave the principles, or at all events, the mere 
enunciation of Christian doctrines, and to go on unto per- 
fection, it is, really, nothing but disappointment and vexa- 
tion, if he be detained to listen to the same elementary ex- 
amination, without the chance of carrying away with him, 
a particle of additional knowledge. 

• Charge of 1822, p. 24, 3d Edition. 


Any unvaried monotonous process is unable to awaken 
interest either in the examinant or by-stander, and there- 
fore, even the best exposition of the Catechism, if it be 
always drawn from the mouths of the children in the same 
order of question and answer, would become so cold in its 
style, and stiff in its application, as to excite the same dis- 
relish as the Catechism itself, when taught by rote only. 
It is the lesson-like character of the mode, when adopted 
in literal obedience to the Rubric, and the dull task-work, 
which the querist, the respondent, and the congregation 
feel in an equal degree, which have rendered, and will 
continue to render, the old method uninviting, and there- 
fore uninfluential. 

Seeing then, that the verbal construction of the Injunc- 
tions, Canons, and Rubrics, have had some tendency to 
defeat the object proposed by them, in that they have pre- 
scribed times and seasons, and induced a neglect, or cold 
performance of duty, on the part of those who give them- 
selves no trouble to enquire into the nature and duty of 
catechising, is the system to be abandoned altogether? 
Not so, but it becomes a question, whether it may not be 
improved, and whether a spirit of emulation may not be 
stirred up by other and higher motives than a legislative 
enactment. The letter of the law being dead, or considered 
so, by those who forget their subscriptions and declarations 
of conformity, is there not some ever living spirit of the 
rule by which we may be guided and governed ? 

Your Lordship has not overlooked this. You have re- 
minded us, that we are to consult the tenor of the Liturgy 
and services of the Church, and there we shall find how 
solemnly the attention of the pastor and his people is 
drawn to the demands of their mutual relation as shepherd 


and fold, and to the conduct of both parties in the per- 
formance of their respective duties. " Whether we look 
to the dedication of the infant to God by the ministry of 
the priest, to the profession of faith and obedience which 
is made in his presence by the sponsors, or to the exhortation 
which designates their duties, and specifies the instruction 
to be given to the child, we discern the pervading intention 
of placing the rising generation in the view of the minister, 
of giving them in the tenderest infancy the advantage of 
his paternal protection, and sending them to the Church, 
to be publicly instructed by him in faith and morals."* 


In the baptismal service, the very first supplication 
which the priest addresses to the throne of Grace, publicly 
before the congregation, - )* is that " the child may be re- 
ceived into the ark of Christ's Church." The next peti- 
tion is, that the infant " being steadfast in faith, joy ful through 
hope, and rooted in charity, may so pass the waves of this 
troublesome world, that finally he may come to the land 

* Charge of 1822, p. 21, 3d Edition. 

j- The Rubric directs that baptism should be administered upon 
Sundays and other holy days, " When the most number of people 
come together" for the express purpose that " every man present 
may be put in remembrance of his own profession made to God." 
It adds " in his baptism," but can the reflecting priest forget that hie 
professions, made when he was consecrated to God, as the minister 
of God's word, demand something of him also, viz. that he shall 
" teach, premonish, feed, and provide for the Lord's family." 


of everlasting life." What clergyman is so dull, or so 
fanatical, who would not shrink indignantly from the re- 
proach, if he were asked, Do you presume, then, that the 
prayers of the Church, without any of the efforts of the 
Church, through its ministers, are to go on accomplishing 
this blessed effect 1 When the child arrives at years of 
understanding, if he shall live to a period of temptation, 
will he pass safely through the waves of this troublesome 
world, without any helping hand, without any spiritual 
guide to direct him ? 

Were the infant left here, it would be the veriest mock- 
ery, and therefore the service proceeds to speak of the 
rebuke which the disciples received from our Lord, when 
they would have kept little children from him, and to re- 
mind us, by implication, that we are to receive them, not 
only to formularies, but to instruction ; not only at the 
baptismal font, but at the chair of the catechist — to acquaint 
them with the nature, as well as with the words of Bap- 
tismal Regeneration. 

How is the child, who " is dedicated to God by our 
office and ministry," to " remain in the number of God's 
faithful and elect children through Jesus Christ," should 
length of days be extended to him, unless he be brought 
to a vital knowledge of Jesus Christ, through our office 
and ministry ? It is mere lip-service "to give thanks unto 
Almighty God, and to make our prayers unto him, that 
this child may lead the rest of his life according to this 
beginning," unless we ourselves, to the utmost of our 
abilities, obey the further injunctions of the Church, and 
explain to him, what it is, " to confess the faith of Christ 
crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against 
sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's 


faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end." Again, 
how can we seriously proceed to exhort godfathers and 
godmothers to " remember that it is their parts and duties 
to see that the infant be taught what a solemn vow, prom- 
ise and profession he hath made, and to provide that he 
may learn the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and Ten Com- 
mandments in the vulgar tongue, and all the things which 
a Christian ought to know to his soul's health," unless we 
ourselves are prepared to be at our posts, when the time 
shall come and to teach them to understand the samel 
Who can conceive that the same Church, which propounds 
the form and" ministration of public baptism," and the form 
of" Catechism to be learnt of every person, &c." has greater 
claims upon the sponsors who are to see that infants be 
taught, than upon the ministers whose duty it is to explain 
the lesson in question ? 


But a more sacred appeal yet remains, and it can be 
shown, that what a sponsor undertakes for his god-child, 
the parochial minister undertakes for " all such as are, or 
shall be committed to his charge," within the extent of a 
possible quantity of duty — that is, as far as it is practicable. 
Yes, there is a solemn account which every Parish Priest 
has to render, in conformity with his Ordination vow, infi- 
nitely beyond all the obligation which Acts of Parliament, 
Constitutions, or Canons, can impose. He may evade the 
letter of these, and may persuade himself that he has cate- 
chised, and taught and initiated, according to Rubrick or 


Canon, if during certain seasons of the year, he have gath- 
ered together the school children, or others of his parish, 
about the rails of the altar, or reading-desk, and questioned 
them as to their proficiency in saying by heart the form of 
the Church catechism. But a reference to the Ordination 
Service will lead to a bitter reprehension of himself, should 
he not have carried his instructions to a much greater ex- 
tent, and questioned personally as many young people as 
he could induce to answer, concerning " the reason of the 
hope wheh is in them." 

I conceive, therefore, that your Lordship, in common 
with the other Prelates of the realm, would be able to ad- 
monish and reprove a negligent catechist with irresistible 
authority, by censures resting solely on the solemn en- 
gagements made by Deacons and Priests under the impo- 
sition of hands, and the awful sponsion at the altar. " The 
questions," says Burnet, " are put in the name of God and 
of his Church, which make the answers to them to be of 
the nature of vows and oaths, so that if men do make con- 
science of any thing, and if it is possible to strike terror in- 
to them, the forms of our Ordination are the most effec- 
tually contrived for that end that could have been framed."* 

" It appertained to the office of a Deacon — to instruct 
the youth in the catechism. — Will you do this gladly and 
willingly?' 1 '' demands the Bishop. 

" I will do so by the help of God!" is the answer. 

That the Deacon may understand that it is no hasty and 
formal compliance with this and other duties of his profes- 
sion, which is required, but an essential performance of 
them, he is further asked, — 

* Pastoral Care. 

M Will you apply all your diligence to frame and fashion 
your own life, and the lives of your families, according to 
the doctrine of Christ : and to make both yourselves and 
them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples of the 
flock of Christ 1 " 

" I will do so, the Lord being my helper." 

In the Ordination of Priests, the duty of pastoral and cate- 
chetical instruction, as independent of that of public preach- 
ing, and in addition to it, is so distinctly marked, and se- 
riously denned, that none could evade it, without the help 
of a supposed obedience to the letter of the Canons and 

" And now again we exhort you, in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, that you have in remembrance into how 
high a dignity, and to how weighty an office and charge, 
ye are called : that is to say, to be messengers, watchmen, 
and stewards, of the Lord ; to teach, to premonish, to feed 
and provide for the Lord's family, and to seek/or Christ's 
sheep that are scattered abroad, and for his children who 
are in the midst of this naughty world, that they may be 
saved through Christ for ever. If it shall happen that any 
member thereof take any hurt or hindrance, by reason of 
your negligence, ye know the greatness of the fault, and 
also the horrible punishment that will ensue. Wherefore 
consider, within yourselves, the end of your ministry to- 
wards the children of God, towards the spouse, and body 
of Christ ; and see that you never cease your labour, your 
care and diligence, until you have done all that lieth in 
you, according to your bounden duty, to bring all such as 
are, or shall be, committed to your charge, unto that agree- 
ment in the faith and knowledge of God, and to that ripe- 
ness and perfectness of age in Christ, that there be no place 


left among you, either for error in religion, or for vicious- 
ness in life," &c. 

After this exhortation follow these questions ; — 

" Are you determined out of the said Scriptures to in- 
struct the people committed to your charge" <$pc? 

Answer — " I am so determined by God's grace." 

" Will you then give your faithful diligence, so that you 
may teach the people committed to your care and charge, 
to keep and observe (he same ?" 

Answer. — "I will do so by the help of God." 

" Will you be ready, with all faithful diligence, to banish 
and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines, con- 
trary to God's word : and to use both public and private 
monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick, as to the 
whole, within your cure, as need shall require, and occa- 
sion shall be given ?" 

Answei — " 1 will, the Lord being my helper." 

Such are the duties of Catechising and of pastoral in- 
struction, according to the ordination engagements. The 
Ordination Service defines them ; and the bishop who or- 
dains, imperatively exacts them, as an obligation binding 
on the souls of priests and deacons, not only according to 
the letter, but to the spirit, and the full meaning of the 
words in which it is conveyed. It is a stipulation entered 
upon at the altar : it is a covenant ratified before God, 
and in the presence of the congregation, that the person 
who is admitted into Holy Orders, " shall never cease his 
labour, care, or diligence, till he hath done all that lieth 
in him, both by public and private monitions and exhorta- 
tions to bring those committed to his charge to the ripe- 
ness and perfectness of Christ.'''' 

« My advice," said Bishop Burnet in his Discourse on 


the Pastoral Care, " is, that those who are already in Or- 
ders, will at least four times a year, on the Ordination Sun- 
days, read over the offices of the degree of the Church in 
which they are ; and will particularly consider the charge 
that was given, and the answers that were made by them : 
and then ask themselves as before God, who will judge 
them at the great day, upon their religious performance of 
them, whether they had been true to them or not." 


Your Lordship has expressed yourself unwilling to im- 
pute the discontinuance of catechising to the " indolence 
of the parochial Clergy." Indolence is not. I would hope, 
the fault of the Clergy of the day ; and if there be any 
disinclination to exercise the functions of catechists, it is 
more likely to arise from an erroneous persuasion, that 
their other labours have been such as to render it unneces- 
sary, than from any unwillingness to encounter personal 
trouble. There is scarcely a parish, in your Lordship's 
diocese at least, where a school of some description, Sun- 
day or weekly, has not been instituted, under the superin- 
tendence of the parochial minister, for the religious im- 
provement of the children of the poor. To the internal 
management of such establishments the Clergyman devotes 
much of his time and attention : he is present at examina- 

[ • Has there not been among us the same mistaken reliance on 
the Sunday Sch ool system ? — Am. Ed.] 


tions, — he provides that scriptural lessons shall form the 
principal subjects of instruction ; and all being under his 
immediate care, he believes that he does enough, and 
obeys the Rubric and the Canon, while he thus " causes 
the children, who have not learnt the Catechism, to come 
to hear and be ordered, till they have learned the same." 
I am confident there is so much good intention in these and 
other labours of the generality of my Clerical brethren, 
that there are but few of them, who could not be soon 
brought to admit, that in this superintendence of parish 
schools, they are performing only half of their catecheti- 
cal duties, and that they are falling very far short of the 
good which they conscientiously propose to themselves. 
Parents, and parishioners at large, in their own persons, 
are not benefited by this substitution for the old practice ; 
young persons of a higher degree, who are not in the habit 
of receiving instruction in parochial schools, — servants, 
apprentices, — and all, at that dangerous crisis, between 
childhood and maturity, lose the advantage of those prac- 
tical and familiar illustrations of divine truth, which the 
interrogatory system affords, when it is transferred from 
the Church to the school-room. Catechising should al- 
ways be a congregational service ; for well-ordered ques- 
tions draw out the attention, and quicken the apprehension, 
not only of those who have to make a reply, but of those 
who are mere listeners, and take no further part in the 

But this is not the only reason why the institution of 
parish schools should not be permitted to dispense with the 

[•Experience affords abundant demonstration of the truth of 
this statement. — Jm. Ed.] 



primitive custom. The more general that education be- 
comes, the more imperative is the duty of the parochial 
minister to ascertain its effects upon the minds of his young 
flock, beyond the period of their probation as eleemosy- 
nary scholars. If he have laid the foundation, he should 
carry up the building, or, at least, he should make him- 
self acquainted with the scriptural soundness of the super- 
structure. As he has been instrumental in giving his 
youthful parishioners new powers of acquiring good and 
evil, — he should continue to direct their application. He 
should provide wholesome food for the craving appetite 
which he has excited ; and by examination in the face of 
the congregation, should prove that he is not indifferent to 
the spiritual wants and interests of ripening years. 

As long as Sunday, parish, and national schools are 
used as helps to the parochial clergy, and the services of 
the schoolmasters therein engaged, are employed to pre- 
pare children for their appointed catechist, the incumbent 
or his curate, and to relieve him from the toilsome work 
of primary instruction, they will continue to be beneficial 
in no ordinary degree. But whenever they shall be re- 
garded as sufficient for all the purposes of elementary 
training in religious knowledge, — and the ordained guide 
to Christian truth shall think himself justified in deputing 
his catechetical duties to an incompetent lay-assistant, and 
in breaking the tie of connexion between himself and his 
flock, effects will follow, which may, in the end, direct the 
engine of national education against the hand that first 
applied it.* 

* " Do the times then no longer require it V asks Archdeacon 
Bay ley, in his eloquent and animated Charge; "far other is the 



A late Prelate, Bishop Edmund Law, who published, in 
the last century, an excellent " Dissertation on the nature 
and necessity of Catechising," attributed the discontinuance 
of the service to two causes : First, a low estimate of its 
importance on the part of some ; and, secondly, a sense 
of its difficulties on the part of others. " At present this 
is a work which many, either discouraged by disuse, and 
the despicable notions which are apt to be entertained of 
it, or deterred by its difficulty, are extremely shy of under- 
taking. Some have not the desire, some not the resolution 
to set about it !" 

case. Much of that ignorant impatience of discipline, that ever 
learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, 
that heartless indifference, which usurps the name of liberality, and 
that licentiousness of self-will, which marks the latter days, as it 
disgraced the worst period, perhaps, of our annals ; much of all 
this, as well as of viciousness of life and error in religion, is owing 
to ' ungroundedness in the points of Catechism.' Equally fallacious 
is the notion, that Sunday Schools, and more especially the national 
system, preclude its use, or remove the minister's responsibility. 
No ; but one of the great objects, one of the prime merits of both, 
is to train and prepare the rising generation for the hands of the 
Clergyman, to facilitate thereby his labour, and to make the neces- 
sity of public exhibition less frequent. But still his constant super- 
visal and personal direction of the whole machinery are equally, or 
more than ever demanded — they are, I had nearly said, all in all. 
Through him, moreover, the children are to profess, in Church, 
what they have been taught in the school, and he is bound not 
merely to listen to a formal and cold repetition, hut also in the fullest 
sense of the term, to 'examine, and to instruct.' " 


With respect to the first cause assigned, I can easily 
understand that the younger clergy may learn to entertain 
a contemptible opinion of that which their elders and su- 
periors refuse to practise. 

Where it is the custom to commit the sacred charge as 
a work of drudgery, to lay persons, whose habits, condi- 
tion, and attainments, are unequal to it, — there it may be 
concluded, that inexperienced and unreflecting Clergymen 
will be indisposed to enter upon a work, which has been 
rendered distasteful by neglect and abuse. But will the 
Church of England ever sink so low, as that the great body 
of her ministers shall openly hold in contempt a practice, 
which has been sanctified by the example of Evangelists 
and Apostles, and of men eminent for their rank in the 
Church, for their piety and attainments, from the first 
preaching of the Gospel to the present hour? To devote 
public and private attention to the young, and the ignorant, 
and the dull, — to explain to these the first principles of 
Christianity, by a slow and wearisome process, — to ques- 
tion, and to consent to be questioned in the face of the con- 
gregation, — to have recourse to one expedient after another, 
for the purpose of touching the heart, or stirring up the 
conscience, or enlightening the understanding, — to aim 
every discourse at the same mark, — to adapt the system 
to different tempers and capacities, — and never to consider 
the work done, until every term used is thoroughly under- 
stood, — every vow and promise distinctly explained, and 
every condition of the covenant made plain, — this may be 
laborious, and trying, and oftentimes disheartening, but it 
never can be pronounced inconsistent with the dignity of 
the most elevated station. 



I have said that the Apostles and Evangelists themselves 
did not disdain that patient, simple, and interrogatory mode 
of instruction, which is called catechising.* Added to the 
concurrent voice of antiquity f to this effect, we have the 
more unquestionable evidence of Scripture, gathered from 
the application of the Greek word, from whence the term 
now in use is derived. 

Fortified with this etymological argument, it was the 
opinion of Cave and Grotius,| that St. Peter alluded to the 

* It was principally by catechising, that the religion of Jesus, as 
Hegesippus observes, was in a few years spread over the greater 
part of the known world. — Bishop Mant. 

By catechising, under heaven, was planted the Apostolical Church ; 
by catechising, the sound of the Gospel was sent forth into all lands. 
—Archdeacon Bayley. 

St. Paul's converts had all been instructed in the faith, as the cus- 
tom was catechetically. — Rev. J. B. Sumner. 

\ The author of the Epistle called "Clementis ad Jacobura Epis- 
tola," (who, at all events, expressed the traditionary belief of tha 
early Church, at whatever period he himself may have lived,) pro- 
fesses to give an account of St. Peter's last charge, in which the 
Apostle is made to speak of himself, as having catechised at Rome. 
" They who catechise, should be well rooted in the faith, for the sal- 
vation of men's souls is at stake. Wherefore it is important that he 
who administers, and teaches, shall accommodate himself to the 
various opinions and dispositions of such as he may have to teach. 
It is indispensable that a catechist be learned, blameless, practised 
and perspicuous in his mode of instruction. Such as you will find 
Clement to be, who, when I am gone, will succeed me." — Clem, ad 
Jac. Epist. apud Cot. Pat. p. 619. 

i Bingham's Orig. Sacr. B. xi. ch. 7. 5. 3. 


catechetical system, when he spoke of the " answer of a 
good conscience towards God :" and it has been thought 
still more probable, that Philip's conversation with the 
eunuch, before he baptized him, had some reference to the 
Apostolical practice of teaching by question and answer. 
Cyril distinctly relates, in terms, that St. Paul catechised. 
"Paul," says he, "preached the Gospel from Jerusalem 
to Illyria, and taught at Rome catechetically"* [xatrfitf- 
] Cyril, Catechesis, xvii. 16. 
This statement receives strong confirmation from the 
two last verses of Acts xxviii. " And Paul dwelt two 
whole years in his own hired house, [at Rome,] and re- 
ceived all that came unto him, preaching the kingdom of 
God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord 
Jesus Christ." There is manifestly meant to be, in this 
passage, an account of two modes which the Apostle adop- 

* St. Paul's general style affords evidence to this effect. From 
the 2d chapter to the end of the 12th chapter of his Epistle to the 
Romans, there appears a manner of putting his subject, which is pe- 
culiarly characteristic of the Apostle, who, according to Cyril, cate- 
chised at Rome. For example — 

Q. What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there 
of circumcision? Rom. iii. 1. 

A. Much every way — chiefly, because that unto them were com- 
mitted the oracles of God. V. 2. 

Q. For what if some did not believe ! shall their unbelief make 
the faith of God without effect ? V. 3. 

A. God forbid. Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar, as it 
is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and migh- 
test overcome when thou art judged. V. 4. 

Q. What, then, are we better than they ? V. 9. 

A. No, in no wise, for we have before proved both Jews and Gen- 
tiles, that they are all under sin. V. 9. &c. &c. 


ted of promulgating the faith. Comparing it with Acts v. 
42, — " they ceased not to teach, and preach Jesus Christ," 
— with Acts xv. 35, — " Paul and Barnabas continued in 
Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord," 
— and with 1 Tim. i. 11, " VVhereunto I am appointed a 
preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher" — and finding 
that the term itself, Catechise,* is used three times by 
St. Paul himself, and four times by St. Luke,| the sacred 
historian of St. Paul, — I can have no doubt that the cate- 
chetical form of teaching was adopted by the Apostles as 
the most efficient, though the most humble and fatiguing 
method, of explaining the first principles of the Gospel. 
St. Paul's charge to Timothy was, that he should be " apt 
to teach," [SiSaxt txox] (twice this expression was repeated,) 
" in meekness instructing "% [itaibtvovea^ 


In conformity with this precept, the highest officers in 
the primitive Church, and the most distinguished of her or- 
naments, exercised the functions of Catechists, with a spi- 
rit that took delight in teaching even the first elements, — 
with gentleness that could not be moved by the perverse- 
ness of their catechumens, and with patience which was 
proof against all fatigue or disgust. 

* See the Introduction. 

f Luke i. 4. Acts xviii. 25. xxi. 21, 24. Rom. ii. 18. 1 Cor. 
xiv. 19. Gal. vi. 6. 

% 1 Tim. ii. 2. 2 Tim. ii. 24, 25. 


" The chair of the catechist of old was filled by the 
highest authorities, the finest talents, and the deepest learn- 
ing,"* and among the number of those whom I would 
bring to the recollection of such as undervalue the humble 
task of interrogatory instruction, was Pantasnus.f His 
taste in elegant and classic literature was so refined, that 
he was called the "Sicilian bee" by his contemporaries; 
and there is an incident in his life, which, connected with 
his literary acquirements, may induce not a few to take 
more than common interest in his history. Like our own la- 
mented Heber, he made a sacrifice of his dearest interests, 
and went a voluntary Missionary to India. Though Alex- 
andria, the place of his abode, contained all that could gratify 
a mind ardent in the pursuit of science and letters, yet he 
cheerfully regarded an invitation by some Indian Ambas- 
sadors, as a call of Providence, and journeyed to regions 
beyond the Indus, with that singleness of purpose, which 
proved his heart to be with the Author and Finisher of his 
faith, and chose a rugged path which nothing could smooth, 
but the strongest sense of Christian duty. 

Clemens Alexandrinus, Heraclias, afterwards Bishop of 
Alexandria, and Origen, were Catechists ; and the latter 
was so eminently successful in proceeding upon the golden 
rule, line upon line, and precept upon precept, that he not 
only achieved conversions among the more ignorant and 
uninformed, but among accomplished scholars.^ Heathen 
philosophers, and Christians by outward profession, who 
had departed from the purer doctrines of the Gospel, were 
brought to the obedience of the Cross, by listening acciden- 

• Archdeacon Bayley. f KaTo^a-eat irfswr* iVarasAusi/. Euseb. 
t Euseb. vi. 18. 


tally to the close questions which he put to his catechu- 
mens, and to the truth which he illustrated through their 
answers. This is one of the important advantages result- 
ing from public catechising. The instructor reaches the 
hearts and consciences of by-standers, through queries and 
observations meant for young neophytes. The simplicity 
of the Gospel thus triumphs unexpectedly over the wisdom 
of the wise ; and praise is perfected out of the mouths of 
babes and sucklings, for " God hath chosen the foolish 
things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak 
things of the world to confound the things which arc mighty, 
and base things of the world, and things that are despised 
hath God chosen, yea, and things, which are not, to bring 
to nought things that are, that no flesh should glory in his 

It will be enough to mention two other names, selected 
from the Fathers, of men, renowned in their generation, 
who thought it no condescension to labour in futherance 
of that sacred ordinance, which your Lordship has taken 
such pains to press upon the attention of your Clergy. 
Cyril of Jerusalem, and Augustine of Hippo, are no mean 
names in the annals of the Church. The first has left 
behind him proofs in his " Catechesis," that a catechist's 
duties are not the least important among the pastoral 
functions. The second assisted the labours of a young 
deacon by a treatise on Catechising, which none can read 
without feeling all the best energies of his nature invited 
to exercise themselves in the same department of the Lord's 



As nothing extended the doctrines of the primitive Church 
more than diligent Catechising, so has the enlargement of 
the Protestant faith been effected by the same means. 
From the earliest dawn of the Reformation, there has never 
been a time, when its zealous advocates have entirely neg- 
lected it. The sixteenth century produced a host of cate- 
chists and catechisms. Luther wrote two, and declared 
that catechising afforded him more delight than any other 
duty.* I have already noticed what was done in England, 
to promote this service, in the infancy of the Established 
Church; and however lax at different periods may have 
been the conduct of too great a portion of the Clergy of 
the land, yet the sentiments and the practice of our more 
distinguished divines have always been in this respect strict- 
ly Apostolical. 

" There is no employment in the world," says Bishop 
Hall, " wherein God's ministers can so profitably employ 
themselves, as in this of plain and familiar catechising. 
What is a building without a foundation? If this ground- 
work therefore be not surely laid, all their divine discourses 
(for such their sermons are) lie upon the loose sand, and 
are easily washed away by the insinuative suggestions of 
false teachers. As for matter of belief, where the founda- 
tion is surely laid of the doctrines of faith, contained in the 
Apostolic, Nicene, Atkanasian Creeds ; and of the doc- 
trine of the Sacraments, briefly comprised in our publicly 
allowed catechism ; I see no reason but to think our peo- 

* See Mant's Notes on the Catechism. 


pie so sufficiently defenced against the danger of error, that 
no heretical machinations could be able to batter or under- 
mine them. And surely, if ever there were or can be a 
time, wherein this duty of catechising were fit to be en- 
forced, it is this upon which we are fallen, when the souls 
of Christian people are so hard laid at, not only by Papery, 
Anabaptism, Antinomianism, Pelagianism ; but by the 
confounding and hellish heresies of Socinianism, Antitrini- 
tarianism, prodigious mischiefs ; tending not only to the 
disturbance of our peace, but to the utter destruction of 
Christianity." — From the Peace Maker. — Sec. 23. 

» There is no one thing of which I repent so much," 
said the same prelate, " as not to have bestowed more hours 
in this public exercise of catechising ; in regard whereof 
I could quarrel with my very sermons, and wish that a 
great part of them had been exchanged for this preaching 

" Great scholars," said the celebrated Usher, in a Ser- 
mon preached before king James the First, " possibly may 
think, that it stands not so well with their credit to stoop 
thus low, and to spend so much of their time in teaching 
these rudiments and first principles of the doctrine of Christ. 
But they should consider, that the laying the foundation 
skilfully, as it is the matter of greatest importance in the 
whole building, so it is the very masterpiece of the wisest 
builder. According to the grace of God which is given 
unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the founda- 
tion ; saith the great Apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 10. And let the 
learnedest of all try it whenever we please, we shall find, 
that to lay the ground-work rightly (that is, to apply our- 
selves unto the capacity of the common auditory, and to 
make an ignorant man understand these mysteries in some 


good measure) will put us to the trial of our skill, and 
trouble us a great deal more, than if we were to discuss a 
controversy, or handle a subtle point of learning in the 

There is every reason to believe, that Herbert's charac- 
ter of "the Country Parson" was drawn from real life. 
His biographer, Isaac Walton, relates, that his own con- 
duct was a practical comment upon the rules which he 
laid down in that delightful treatise. " In his first sermon 
to his parishioners, he made it his humble request, that 
they would be constant to the afternoon's service and cate- 
chising, and showed them convincing reasons why he de- 
sired it ; and his obliging example and persuasions, brought 
them to a conformity to his desires." With this evidence 
before us, we may conclude that his twenty-first chapter, 
entitled, " the Parson Catechising," is an exact description 
of the manner in which the most able and pious Clergy of 
that period, were in the habit of performing this duty. 

"The country parson values catechising highly, — he 
useth and prefcrreth the ordinary Church Catechism, partly 
for obedience to authority, partly for uniformity sake, that 
the same common truths may be every where professed, 
especially since many remove from parish to parish, who 
like Christian soldiers, are to give the word, and to satisfy 
the congregation by their Catholic answers. He exacts of 
all the doctrines of the Catechism : of the younger sort the 
very words : of the elder, the substance. Those he cate- 
cKiseth publicly ; these privately, giving age honour, ac- 
cording to the apostle's rules. He requires all to be pre- 
sent at catechising : first for the authority of the work, 
secondly, that parents and masters, as they hear the an- 
swers prove, may, when they come home, either commend 

or reprove, either reward or punish : thirdly, that those of 
the elder sort, who are nofwell grounded, may then by an 
honourable way, take occasion to be better instructed ; 
fourthly, that those who are well grown in the knowledge 
of religion, may examine their grounds, review their er- 
rors, and by occasion of both enlarge their meditations. 
When once all have learnt the words of the Catechism, he 
thinks it the most useful way that a pastor can take, to go 
oyer the same, but in other words. How many say the 
catechism by rote, as parrots, without ever piercing into 
the sense of it. In this course the order of the catechism 
would be kept, but the rest varied, as thus : In the Creed, 
— How came this world to be as it is? Was it made, or 
came it by chance? Who made it? Did you see God 
make it? Then there are some things to be believed 
that are not seen? Is this the nature of belief? Is not 
Christianity full of such things as are not to be seen, but 
believed ? You said God made the world ; Who is God ? 
and so forward, requiring answers to all these, and helping 
and cherishing the answerer, by making the questions very 
plain by comparisons, and making much even of a word 
of truth from him." 

Baxter, though a non-conformist, attributed much of his 
success at Kidderminster to his adherence to catechising, 
as a regular system. " When I set upon a personal con- 
ference with each family," said he, " and catechising them, 
there were very few families in all the town, that refused 
to come." 

Bishop Burnet catechised three times a week, while he 
was the incumbent of Saltown in Scotland, and even after 
his consecration to the see of Salisbury, he examined the 
youth of the two great schools of the town in the cathedral 


Church, every week during the season of Lent. To enu- 
merate all the great names, Wake, Seeker, &c.,who have 
dedicated their labours to the same cause, would be to ad- 
duce a « cloud of witnesses " to its expediency. 


Another cause, which the late Bishop Law, thought 
might have its effect in contributing to the neglect of cate- 
chising, is one, which in the present age cannot be fairly 
admitted. " Some deterred by its difficulties have not the 
resolution." There are so many helps in the shape of ex- 
positions and illustrations of the Catechism, and the parish 
minister is, in most places, so accustomed to address young 
persons, in the common examinations, during his superin- 
tendence of National or Sunday Schools, that it would be 
a reproach to the Clergy, to allow any weight whatever 
to such a plea. Timidity and hesitation there naturally 
will be on the part of many, whose duty calls them to stand 
forth in the face of a congregation, and to deliver such un- 
premeditated observations, as the nature of a child's answer 
may require : but very little practice, and a heart fairly 
enlisted in the service, will soon give both confidence to the 
mind, and utterance to the tongue. We are not to sup- 
pose that an audience, collected together to hear youth and 
ignorance instructed in the elements of Christianity, are 
nice and critical. If the tone and manner of the teacher, 
and the pains which he takes to make himself understood, 
render it manifest that he is thoroughly in earnest, any lit- 
tle particular deficiencies will be overlooked, and the gene- 


ral effect only will be noticed. A broken discourse, and 
remarks arising out of circumstances, and replies which 
occur at the moment, are not so likely to weary hearers, 
as a continued lecture ; and for this reason a diffident Cler- 
gyman may enter upon his catechetical work with much 
less apprehension of being tiresome, than when he has to 
deliver a sermon. He cannot express himself too plainly ; 
he has no occasion whatever to study language or style. 
As long as he is unaffected, audible, and intelligible, he is 
sure to interest his listeners,* who will not be dissatisfied 
even with that which is familiar and common place, be- 
cause they are aware, that the instructor has to address 
himself principally to those, who require first principles, 
and come for milk, and not for strong meat. 

My Lord, it is a remark, which has lately been put forth 
in print, in more than one form of publication, " that reli- 
gious knowledge is more eagerly sought for, and more 
generally diffused," — that " Religion has a much stronger 
hold on the affections of the English nation now," than in 
preceding times, — that we live in an age, when many jeal- 
ous and observant eyes are upon us, — that much is expected 
of us, — and that to the ordinary obligations, religious and 
civil, which the ministers of our Church have always been 
expected to observe, are superadded, the obligations arising 
from the increased and increasing force of public opinion. 

Such being the admitted fact, it would seem that any 
parochial Clergyman, who should undertake to restore the 
system of catechising, according to the plan which your 
Lordship has suggested, namely "by improving the prac- 
tice by such modifications as would render it popular as 
well as useful," would have all the encouragement that a 

[• « Expcrto creJc Roberto" — trust and try. — Am. Ed.] 


grateful flock could give him, in full attendance both of 
young and old, high and low, rich and poor, one with 
another, in manifestation of awakened hopes and fears, and 
in general improvement throughout the parish. There 
would be no unwillingness either in parent or child, master 
or apprentice, to wait upon the teaching of a Clergyman, 
whose kind and affectionate earnestness in the cause, and 
efficient mode of explanation, should offer some pledge, that 
they would be the happier and better for it. To insure 
success to his experiment, he has only to treat his Cate- 
chumens as thinking and reflecting beings, and not as mere 
mechanical creatures, who are assembled around him to 
repeat for the hundredth time, what they have repeated 
ninety-nine times before. Children as well as grown per- 
sons, may be made to understand, that they have a per- 
sonal interest in the Christian covenant : and as the preach- 
er's first care should be to rouse each of his hearers to a 
sense of his own individual concern in that which is ad- 
dressed to him, so should the Catechist's be, to lead his 
young charge to employ their thoughts about themselves, 
to tempt them to think, and to prevail on them to exercise 
their minds upon that which they have been reading or 
learning. Who shall limit the period of life, when a desire 
to obey the Gospel may become the active principle of the 
soul ? The highest authority has spoken of childhood as 
an age of docility. God has implanted even in infancy 
a natural curiosity about himself and the things of eternity: 
and we are encouraged by the brightest promises of suc- 
cess to try the experiment, which the Church invites and 
commands us to make.* 

[ * This whole paragraph deserves the serious consideration of the 
Clergy.— Jm. Ed.] 



The consecration of the new Church, in Somer's Town, 
St. Pancras, to which 1 was appointed Minister in May, 
1826, afforded me an ample opportunity of making the ex- 
periment of public catechising upon the scale, and with the 
modifications, which your Lordship's Charge had recom- 
mended. The scene of duty presented a view of all the 
disadvantages, and all the advantages, under which a pa- 
rochial Clergyman may be supposed to be placed. If there 
was much to encounter, there was a wide field for useful 
exertion. Somer's Town forms one of the districts of a 
very extensive and populous parish, which is said to be 
seventeen miles in circuit, and to contain not less than 
eighty thousand souls. The population of St. Pancras has 
been increasing rapidly during the last forty years ; and, 
until very lately, its provision for the due performance of 
Church Services was of the most limited kind. The small 
and ancient mother-Church will not accommodate a con- 
gregation of three hundred. The new parochial chapel, 
in Kentish Town, is situated at a great distance from the 
body of the population. Yet such were the conflicting 
opinions, that tended to dissever the people more and more 
from their constituted pastor, that the exemplary and inde- 
fatigable Dr. Middleton, late Bishop of Calcutta, was un- 
able to realize the hope that lay nearest to his heart, and 
to accomplish the construction of a new edifice, capable of 
holding a congregation in any degree proportionable to the 
magnitude of the parish. His successor, Dr. Moore, has 
been more fortunate, and his incumbency has been distin- 
guished not only by the completion of one of the finest and 
largest parish Churches in London, but by the erection of 

three additional Churches, or parochial chapels, capable 
of receiving from fifteen hundred to two thousand persons 
each ; viz. one at Camden Town, another in Regent Square, 
and a third in Somer's Town. The influence, the activity, 
and the zeal, which have enabled the present Vicar to 
achieve so much for the interests of the Church, and for 
the spiritual welfare of his parishioners, are such as entitle 
him to the highest consideration. 

This brief sketch, of the state of the parish of St. Pan- 
eras, will sufficiently explain that a newly-appointed min- 
ister, to either of these Churches, might have some reason 
to fear, that he was not entering upon an easy cure, where 
he would find all things made smooth for his career. Such 
was found to be the case at the opening of the new Church 
in Somer's Town ; and the statement, that I am now ma- 
king, is necessary to a proper understanding of the course 
which I was impelled to adopt. A thin congregation, 
which became much more thin in the afternoon, and free 
seats not half occupied, constituted no bright prospect. 
Even those few sheep in the wilderness did not belong to 
one fold, — the scanty flock was made up of many who 
came out of curiosity, or from a distance, or with very un- 
settled notions of unity. It was evidently not entirely com- 
posed of persons in regular communion with the Establish- 

The want of school-children to assist in the singing, and 
responses, was another evil, of no small weight in the scale. 
The children of the well-conducted St. Pancras National 
School resorted in a body to the parish Church ; and there 
were reasons, why even a small detachment could not con- 
veniently be spared to assist at the services in Somer's 


Upon casting about to ascertain the probable causes of 
the many empty seats, which continued, for the first two 
or three Sundays, to excite uneasiness, I discovered them 

the condition and various denominations of the majority 
BP the inhabitants of the district. There are several fami- 
lies of great respectability in Somer's Town, and its vicinity, 
and from these the Clergyman may look to receive every 
attention; but for the most part the houses are of an infe- 
rior description, occupied in separate floors and apartments, 
by tenants who often shift their abode, and become unac- 
customed to hold any regular communication with paro- 
chial Clergy. Very many of these occupants are dissenters, 
of all sects, and a large proportion of them are Roman 
Catholics. During the war, Somer's Town was the resort 
of French emigrants ; and it is now the receptacle of 
Spanish and Italian refugees. There is no part of the 
metropolis, where the Roman Catholics have more pros- 
perous establishments than here. A chapel of old stand- 
ing, and now undergoing considerable enlargement, — a 
corps of zealous, able, and well-educated priests, who 
leave no means untried to make proselytes,* and " two nu- 

* At the same time that I put forth the following statements, I 
distinctly disavow any intention of charging the Roman Catholic 
Clergy of the neighbourhood of Somer's Town, with having had 
any hand in the transactions alluded to. They may pass without 
their agency : the only acts of theirs, which have come to my 
knowledge, are in the fair course of professional zeal, and I heartily 
wish that all our own priesthood would take equal pains to seek, as 
well as to save. The spirit of avowed hostility is so busy at work in 
Somer's Town, on the part of Roman Catholics, that there have been 
circulated not less than eight thousand six hundred tracts within 
this district during the past year, of which the greatest proportion is 
calculated not so much to confirm the truth of their own tenets, as 


merous schools of gratuitous education for the poor," to 
quote their own report, — these form an effective phalanx 
in the very centre of the position assigned to the district 
minister. A large academy for Roman Catholic childre^ 

to turn ours into derision, and therefore evidently intended more for 
the perusal of loose Protestants, than of professed Papists. Of an 
inflammatory and ribald tract, in four pages, entitled, " Monkish 
Superstition and Modern Improvements," more than nine hundred 
have been distributed. This tract is headed by a wood-cut, repre- 
senting men harnessed like horses, and compelled by an overseer, 
armed with an enormous whip, to draw carts on the road. The 
text, illustrative of the print, asserts, that " women as well as men 
have been set to repair the roads in Sussex and Hampshire." 

According to the statement of a printed schedule of distribution, 
550 is the number circulated of " The modern method of converting 
Idolators, by Bible Saints," adorned by a plate, in which Protestant 
disputants are drawn in the act of assailing the Papists, sword and 
bayonet in hand — 500 of " Protestant Inquisition," 400 of " Samples 
of the Blessings of the Reformation," 150 of "Tolerance of the 
Law Church." Another notable treatise, which has found its way 
by hundreds into the district, is " a Review of Fox's Book of Mar- 
tyrs :" this is decorated with a print, under which the publishers 
have been at the trouble to give the following description — •' Expla- 
nation of the engraving. John Fox is seen writing his hook, origi- 
nally called Acts and Monuments, but now metamorphosed into a 
Book of Martyrs. The devil is looking over his shoulder prompting 
him, for under no other influence but that of an evil spirit could 
he write, since he has been convicted of falsehood by father Parsons, 
who charges him with telling directly and indirectly not less than 
ten thousand lies in this work. In the perspective is a printing 
press chained., to denote that it was shut to the Catholics by the 
operation of the Penal Code, as will be seen in the course of the 
present work." It is well that the Clergy of the metropolis should 
know how busily Roman Catholic agents are employed in their par- 
ishes. 72,000 of similar tracts were circulated in London last year. 


whose parents can afford to pay for their education, ad- 
joins the new parochial chapel. 

Under such circumstances as these, it was manifest 
that there could be no chance of making a ministry as 
extensively useful as the place required, but by becoming 
personally, and accessibly known, to as many as would 
be willing to profit by such intercourse. But how was 
this to be done? By whom could the introduction be made? 
Unlike a country parish, the inhabitants of a London dis- 
trict are unknown to each other; they hold but little com- 
munication; they are not neighbours, to say to each other, 
Have you conversed with the Clergyman? 1 will bring 
him to you. From one end to another of the district it 
was a land of strangers ; and the common mode of getting 
at the well disposed, and at those in error, would have de- 
manded an interval of several months, before any apparent 
good could result. Preaching would not suffice, because 
there were comparatively but few hearers, and those 
few needed proofs of the Clergyman's devotion to the 
sacred cause beyond his energy in the pulpit. An imme- 
diate lever was wanted to move the feelings and affections 
of the people. It was now that your Lordship's Charge 
recurred to my mind in all its force. 

" The Liturgical formularies of the Church, — conceived 
on an accurate notion of the relation between the pastor 
and his flock, are designed to connect them by a regular 
intercourse, and to direct the conduct of both parties in the 
performance of their respective duties. As the ground- 

I saw that I must go back to first principles, — that I 


must tread in the humble, and almost forsaken path of the 
Catcchist, — that I must yield substantial obedience to a 
rule, which, if duly observed, would help me to attain my 

But fresh difficulties presented themselves ; how was I 
to get at the children, when I was unknown to their parents, 
and unable to find my way to houses, where the voice of a 
Clergyman of the Church would be heard in preference to 
that of any other? The National School of which I have 
previously spoken, offered me none of the facilities which 
I required. 

The more I contemplated my position, the more plainly 
did I perceive the necessity of making my way to notice 
and esteem, by being the immediate origin of some method, 
not yet in practice in this particular quarter; of opening a 
fountain of elementary religious instruction, which had not 
yet sprung up ; of training some children, who should be 
exclusively indebted to myself for some advantages; of 
forming a plan for which parents and families would have 
reason to be grateful ; and who, beginning to love me for 
the concern I had shown in behalf of their little ones,* 
would at length be led to ask themselves, May not we too 
become better by going to him for instruction ? 

While I was in doubt as to the exact course to be pursued, 
it came to my knowledge that the master of an extensive 
Lancasterian school in Somer's Town, was a member of 
the Church of England, and sincerely disposed to promote 
my views. He had been one of the Catechists under the 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 
in North America, and came home with strong recommen- 

[*The true secret, humanly speaking, of pastoral influence. — 
Am. Ed.] 


dations to the National School Society. But not finding 
employment so soon as his circumstances required, he ac- 
cepted an offer which placed him at the head of this Lan- 
casterian institution. The number of boys and girls in- 
structed there, amounted at the time to more than five hun- 
dred, of whom it was represented to me, that many, being 
children of parents in communion with the Established 
Church, might be persuaded to come to Church, and to 
form a Sunday school. The master himself undertook to 
bring such as should be willing to attend, and to devote his 
Sundays to whatever mode of instruction I might choose 
to adopt. 

With these elements my system began, and on the first 
Sunday after the arrangement, the master presented him- 
self at the head of about seventy children, who were 
gathered together near the altar, after the afternoon ser- 
mon, and prepared by classification for future operations. 
They were not then catechised, for scarcely one could say 
any part of the Church Catechism. It was explained to 
them, that their attendance would be required every Sun- 
day morning, at nine o'clock, in the Church, that their 
first business would be to learn the Catechism, and that 
prayer books would be given, or sold at very reduced prices, 
to such as should entitle themselves to the privilege by 
regular application and proficiency. On the following 
Sunday the number of voluntary scholars was increased, 
and several of them had learned enough of their lesson to 
undergo a respectable examination in the Chancel. The 
wheels of the machine were now in motion ; but that they 
might not drag heavily, I began at once by infusing a little 
variety into the exercise, and instead of confining my en- 
quiries to the Catechism, I put questions and made obser- 


vations relating to the Morning and Evening Services, 
which interested the children, and removed every appear- 
ance of unpleasant task-work. 

For some months the teacher of the Lancasterian school 
continued to act as the very efficient master of this my 
Sunday School ; but at the beginning of last year, he de- 
clined the office, partly from a desire of having the one 
only day in the week, which he could call his own, a day 
of perfect leisure, and partly from some apprehension lest 
he should excite disagreeable surmises in the minds of the 
persons connected with the management of the weekly 
school, his principal dependence. It is the regulation in 
that school, that no particular form of religion should be 
taught, and it is possible he had reason to fear, that some 
suspicions might be entertained of his preparing the Church 
of England boys for their Sunday examinations, by a pro- 
cess carried on in the course of the week, during school 
hours, inconsistent with the spirit of the Lancasterian sys- 
tem. Be this as it may, the Committee of that establish- 
ment, so far from manifesting any open jealousy, or from 
throwing obstacles in the way of my Sunday School, do, 
to this day, promote it, by continuing to pay a young 
woman five pounds a year, for her services on the Sabbath, 
in superintending the conduct of such of their female chil- 
dren as attend Church during the hours of instruction and 
of divine service. She is in no other way connected with 

In a very short time, all the advantages which your 
Lordship has predicted as being likely to result from " an 
improved modification of the ancient and laudable practice 
of catechising children in Church," displayed themselves 
in the District committed to my charge. What these ad- 


vantages were, I shall describe more fully in their proper 
place. But I may now briefly state, that from the day I 
commenced catechising, until the present time, it has been 
regularly pursued every Sunday, without any omission, 
either by myself, or by the assistant minister, Mr. Judkin, 
or by both of us in conjunction, at the conclusion of the 
afternoon sermon ; and that a full congregation, — an inter- 
course opened, and established with a great part of the in- 
habitants of the District, — and a Sunday School increased 
from 77 to 280, and still increasing, are the results. 
Now for the modifications suggested and adopted. 


Your Lordship did not speak of modifications and im- 
provements in the ancient practice, without giving us some 
further insight into your own ideas of a mode of catechising, 
suitable to the habits and feelings of modern times. 

I. " A short space before or after the Church Service, 
devoted to the examination of the children."* And, 

II. An "examination judiciously interspersed with short 
explanations, which might be generally edifying to the con- 
gregation, leaving these matters to the judgment of indi- 
vidual Clergymen, and the suggestions of local circum- 

These were the groundworks proposed in your Lord- 
ship's Charges, as substitutions for the half-hour prescribed 

* Charge of 1822, p. 27. 

f Charge of 1822, p. 27. 


by the rubric, after the second Lesson at Evening Prayer, 
and for the dry custom of confining the ordinance to a re- 
petition of question and answer, as set down in the Cate- 
chism. Upon these I have acted. 


In regard to the first improvement ; I have preferred a 
space immediately after the Evening Service, because there 
can then be no interruption whatever to the congregation, 
and the time employed may depend entirely upon circum- 
stances, i. e. upon the nature of the examination, and upon 
the interest which is taken in it. If the children and by- 
standers show no symptoms of weariness, it may be length- 
ened at pleasure; whereas a space before the Evening 
Prayers must necessarily terminate, when the hour for 
prayer shall arrive. Another consideration in favour of 
this choice, is, the better chance of having more hearers to 
derive benefit from the service. When the people observe 
that there is something going on, and that one and another 
stays behind, the inclination to remain becomes pretty gene- 
ral, and the catechist has the satisfaction of finding that he 
is surrounded by a numerous audience. I have found this 
to be the case invariably ; a very large proportion of the 
congregation, of the superior orders, of servants, of young 
persons, and the parents of the children who are to be ex- 
amined, remain in their places, or approach the chancel to 
listen to the questions and answers. 

Again, there can be no appearance of fastidious impa- 
tience to dishearten the Clergyman, when he catechises 


after the prayers and sermon,* because every person who 
stops to hear him does so by choice, and can go away at 
any moment he pleases. There is nothing indecorous, 
either in not staying to witness the examination, or in 
retiring from it before it is concluded ; so that the perfect 
and unrestrained liberty, to go or to stop, renders it an 
attendance entirely optional. 


As soon as I discovered that I had succeeded in divesting 
the examination of all irksomeness f to the young persons 
principally concerned, I began to draw more largely upon 
their time and industry, by expressing a desire that in the 
course of every week, and in addition to portions of the 
Catechism, and expositions of it, they would learn by 
heart, or at least read attentively, the Collect, the Lessons, 
and the Gospel of the next Sunday, so as to be prepared 
to answer questions relating to the sacred narrative, pre- 

[ * It is on every account far better to substitute the catechetical 
exercise for the Sermon. See page 25 of this volume. — Am. Ed.] 

■f " Your instructions should be given mildly and cheerfully. 
They should not be given with a magisterial air, or in the way of a 
solemn lecture, where the hearer is kept, as it were, at a distance, 
and not allowed to propose, or to answer questions. All angry or 
threatening expressions are to be carefully avoided. When instruc- 
tions are given with a dogmatical air, an austere aspect, and attended 
with threats, children are discouraged from attempting to learn." — 
" Religious Instruction of Children," by Rev. Sir J. Stonehouse. 


ccpts, and doctrines therein contained. I have not made 
a practice of fixing their attention upon the Epistles, con- 
sidering them to be beyond the understanding of children, 
nor have I selected the Lessons out of the Old Testament, 
so often as those which are taken from the Gospels. In 
short the latter, .with the Gospel of the day, have consti- 
tuted our principal exercise ; and it has rarely happened, 
that I have asked the children to commit any Scriptural 
passage to memory, without having had the satisfaction of 
finding many of them able to repeat it at our next meeting. 
The willingness, the delight, the emulation, which is ex- 
hibited Sunday after Sunday, is as affecting as it is encour- 
aging ; and I am quite sure that the majority of the chil- 
dren would be extremely grieved, if the system, after 
being adopted, should be abandoned. 


But how is the interest of the children so excited, and 
how is their attention so engaged, in the first instance, that 
they become willing learners ? Public praise, and rewards 
given in the face of the congregation ; and the reverse, — 
rebukes, mildly delivered, and expected privileges withheld, 
have wonderful effect. I have made it a rule to give no 
distinction to displays of talent, unless they be accompa- 
nied by good behaviour. If a child answer ever so well, 
he is not noticed, unless he has behaved well ; and none 
are permitted to purchase Bibles, Testaments, or Prayer- 
books, unless they can produce tickets of merit, and of 
regular attendance. Almost every Sabbath the master of 


the Sunday School puts into my hand books, which certain 
of the children have qualified themselves to possess, partly 
by tickets of merit, of an assigned pecuniary value, and 
partly by purchase ; and these are delivered to them at the 
end of the service, with a few words of commendation. 
No less than twenty-nine Bibles, five Testaments, and one 
hundred and twenty Prayer-books, have been earned by 
the youthful aspirants, in this way, during the past year ; 
and no doubt they set a high value upon them after being 
thus obtained. 

But there are two other more effective modes yet, which 
I know by experience tend greatly to secure the attention 
of such as are capable of reflection. The first is to con- 
vince them that we ourselves are in earnest, that we have 
their interest at heart, — that it is entirely for their sakes 
that we take the trouble of instructing them.* The second 
is to make them feel in earnest about themselves, — to awa- 
ken a serious inquisitiveness, about their own present and 
eternal condition, and to show them, that what we have to 
say on matters of religion concerns every one of them 

The congregation is edified by these means quite as 
much* as the juvenile circle which is more immediately 

* " Let your children see that you take pleasure in instructing 
them. A mild speech and cheerful countenance are perfectly con- 
sistent with great seriousness of spirit, and with keeping up a proper 
authority. Let them see that all your advice proceeds from love. 
Let nothing rough and morose appear in your instructions; but show 
all gentleness, which will give weight and influence to every thing 
you say." — Sir J. Slonehouse 's Instructions. 

[j-" You think that you are teaching the children," said a shrewd 
observer, " and so you are ; but the congregation much more." — 
Am. Ed.] 



addressed. The home-questions which are put to the chil- 
dren, the by-standers, in their turn, apply to their own 
hearts and consciences. For example ; a child has been 
repeating the Collect for the fourth Sunday after Lent, 
" Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for 
our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished," &c. &c. 
The question naturally arises, and may be addressed to 
one of tender years, " Have you committed any evil deeds, 
for which you deserve punishment ? " After a short pause, 
the Catechist himself may proceed to give the answer ; 
" Yes, unhappily, young as you are, you have broken 
some of God's commandments. When you have irrever- 
ently pronounced his holy name, — when you have acted 
disobediently to your parents, — when you have wished for 
that which does not belong to you, you have done what is 
displeasing to Almighty God. Now you shall see how the 
language of the Collect, which adds, < By the comfort of 
thy grace may be relieved,' agrees with the Catechism, 
where it directs you to pray for divine help. ' My good 
child, know this, that thou art not able to do these things 
of thyself, nor to walk in the commandments of God, and 
to serve him, without his special grace.' " 

I have often noticed with considerable pleasure, how the 
attention of individuals, arrived at maturity, is riveted, 
when they discover, that the lessons of their earliest asso- 
ciation contain notes which now strike to their heart; and 
which they feel would have responded there at a more ten- 
der age, had they been skilfully touched. Whether a con- 
gregation be listening to a preacher or a catechist, as long 
as the topics of a discourse are directed to that, in which 
all have the same personal concern, be they young or old, 
the speaker is sure to have willing hearers, whose con- 


sciences will not suffer their "taste to be fastidious." Eve- 
ry excited hope or fear puts the mind on the alert — every 
new perception and acquirement gives pleasure, — and the 
by-stander and the catechumen are equally attentive as soon 
as they discover that they can apply religious maxims to 
their own case ; that they can draw from their own hearts 
or conduct proofs of the truth of the doctrines that are de- 
livered to them. 

Nothing can be more erroneous, than to limit catecheti- 
cal lessons to the mere heartless business of ascertaining 
whether the formularies have been committed to memory, 
under the idea, that childhood being the season for the me- 
chanical process only, we must wait for riper years, be- 
fore the word engrafted on the memory can be expected to 
engage the heart and the understanding, in a salutary in- 
quiry after truth. Why is memory to be considered the 
only active power of the youthful mind'! Why is it to be 
supposed that the child can retain forms of words, but not 
impressions of hope, fear, love, desire, and longings after 
a heavenly state of things? Why may he not be supposed 
to feel and to digest, to compare, and to weigh eternity 
against the present ? 

An authority, [Bishop Wilson] whose opinion has been 
permitted to carry great weight in all questions of this kind, 
declared that he would neither suspend, nor retard the im- 
portant work of instructing a rational and immortal being 
in the concerns, that interest his soul : that he would make 
the understanding travel on with the mechanical process of 
learning by heart. He insisted that " children being the most 
proper subjects of an education which regards another life," 
we should never cease to put people in mind, that the object of 
religious education is to "make children Christians in deed 


as well as in name.'''' His expressions are too strong to 
allow us to mistake his meaning: he adds, "lesl not know- 
ing or not feeling the power of religion in their souls," 
they become a scandal to their education. " My mean- 
ing," says he, " is this ; children may be, and often have 
been, taught the general truths and duties of Christianity, 
without any great good following, for want of such pre- 
vious knowledge and dispositions as we have been speaking 
of, such as are necessary to fit them for receiving the 


In another place he asks, " Should not this be our first 
and great concern ? To plant the fear of God in their 
hearts betimes," namely : 

" By giving them a just and distinct knowledge of God 
and his attributes. 

" By making them sensible of the relation they bear to 
him, and that they are accountable to his justice for every 
thing they do. 

" By explaining to them the condition they are brought 
into, by the fall of our first parents. 

" By showing them to themselves, and convincing 
them from their own reason, and experience, that 
" things are wretchedly amiss in them"* 

•See Bishop Wilson's " Sermon, preached at the Anniversary 
Meeting of the Children Educated in the Charity Schools about the 
Cities of London and Westminster, May 28, 1724." 

The Bishop's text to this Sermon stands thus: 

Acts xiii. 48. " As many as were ordained to [that is, disposed 
or prepared for,"] eternal life, believed." 

I cannot withhold my expression of pleasure at seeing the Calvin- 
istic rendering ordained met boldly, and effectually corrected, in 
limine, at the very outset of this Sermon. " For," as the Right 


Now it must be quite manifest, that if there be any rea- 
son and wisdom in these observations, a formal, forced, 
and artificial system of catechising, in which there is no 
departure from a set form of words, and no personal appli- 
cation of the maxims to the individual under examination, 
cannot exercise the mind of the respondent in a sufficiently 
profitable manner. Ask a child who has been for years 
repeating our Church summary of doctrine, to give you in 
his own language an answer to the simplest doctrinal ques- 
tion, and he will look confused and stupid, unless the same 
pains have been taken to make the sense reach his under- 
standing, as to convey the sounds to his ears. 

By following the rules laid down by all, who have se- 
riously considered the subject, that is, by exercising the in- 
tellect and feelings, as well as the organs of hearing, the 
understandings of children will gradually open, their hearts 
will take part in the service, and their conduct and answers 

Rev. Author well said, " if the opinion be true, which has sometimes 
been founded on this text, it would render all education, with regard 
to another world, useless." In many other instances, I could almost 
venture to say, in all, where the terms, ordained, foreordained, pre- 
destinated, forekne-w, &c, occur in the Authorized Version, and are 
wrested to imply some doctrine of necessity, of personal election, or 
rejection, it will be found by reference to the Greek, that they admit 
of a very different construction. A philological investigation, with 
a sound knowledge of grammar and derivation, would do more to 
shake the authority of Calvinistic readings of Scripture, than any 
mode of reasoning whatever. One hint to the reader shall suffice. 
Let him trace the Greek preposition nPO, through its different accep- 
tations, and then let him search for the meaning of the Apostle, by 
interpreting irpcSsw, vpmyvai, irfh^fm, (see Romans viii.) according 
to grammatical and etymological rules; and I think he will not be 
likely to rise from the inquiry — a confirmed Prcdestinarian. 


will become more and more natural, and more in conformity 
with the grand object to be attained. It must be so; for 
when truths, in unison with experience and nature, and the 
intelligible will of God, are again and again set before them, 
not solely by loading the memory with words and senten- 
ces, but by fixing their thoughts upon the subject-matter of 
their lessons, in short remarks and reflections suited to 
their comprehension, and growing out of the subjects of the 
catechetical or Scriptural passage, which they have been 
learning by heart, it is impossible that they can listen with 
indifference. They cannot fail of seeing the practical ten- 
dency of the knowledge imparted to them, — of being moved, 
— of hoping or fearing for themselves, — and of looking 
out for substantial grounds, on which they may rest their 
confidence of acceptance with God.* 


Keeping these considerations in view, and with the de- 
sire also of bringing the by-standers, as well as the chil- 
dren, to a recollection of the principal incidents connected 

* Bishop Wilson recommends an earnest " inculcation of the fear 
of God," as the shortest and most effectual method of creating in 
young people a tenderness of conscience, and a desire to be thorough- 
ly instructed in the doctrines of our Holy Faith. Rejecting the use 
of "arguments purely moral," such as "virtue is its own reward," 
he says, " we should utterly despair of giving them a full sight and 
knowledge of their duty, if God had not himself directed us to this 
consideration." "But will not this method of dealing with children 


with the promulgation of the Christian covenant, I have 
endeavored to vary the examination : and to put interme- 
diate questions between the several questions and answers 
of the Catechism, in the following manner, suggesting the 
replies, when not given by the children, in the language of 
Scripture, whenever it could be done appropriately. 

Where were the servants of God first called Christians? 

" The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." 
— Acts xi. 25. 

Do you remember any other passage in the book of Acts, 
which shows that this name was commonly applied to them? 

" Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." — Acts 
xxvi. 28. 

Is there any promise, or prophecy in Scripture, that the 
people of the Lord should have a new name given to them'' 

" The Lord shall call his servants by another name." — 
Isaiah lxv. 

What is required to be a child of God, now that you are 
old enough to understand the promises made for you in 
your baptism? 

Faith in Jesus Christ. " Ye are all children of God 
by faith in Jesus Christ." — Gal. iii. 26. 

How can you convince others, that you have faith, that 
you believe truly in God and Jesus Christ? 

By keeping his commandments. 

make them melancholy ? By no means : it may make them serious, 
and that they ought to be ; and they ought to be so by times, lest 
they never be so as long as they live. That which makes people 
melancholy is, when they have wrong apprehensions of God, as if he 
had ordained them for misery, or when they are shown the danger 
they are in, without being shown the -way of escape." — See same 
Sermon, May, 1724. 


How can you keep the commandments? 
By God's help. 

By what means do you hope to obtain God's help ? 

By praying unto God to give me his grace, that I may 
continue in the same way unto my life's end. 

Where were the commandments first delivered ? 

To Moses, on Mount Sinai. — Exodus xix. 

Did any thing happen upon that occasion, to show how 
much God is to be feared when he delivers his command- 
ments ? 

" There were thunders, and lightnings, and a thick cloud 
upon the mount, — and the voice of a trumpet exceeding 
loud, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled." 
— Exodtts xix. 16. 

When does a young person begin to commit wilful and 
actual sin? 

When he ceases to love God, or to fear God, ot to think 
of God. 

When Joseph was tempted to do wrong, what did he 

" How can I do this great wickedness and sin against 
God." — Gen. xxxix. 9. 

The Commandments and the Law came by Moses — 
what came by Jesus Christ? 

" Grace and truth." — John i. 17. 

But did Christ dispense with the Commandments? 

No : Christ said, " I am not come to destroy the law, 
but to fulfil iU n — Matt. v. 17. 



In conducting the Sunday examination arising out of the 
Gospel, or Second Lesson of the day, I have endeavoured 
to make it attractive, as well as instructive, by a method 
which I will exemplify, by means of the Gospel for the third 
Sunday after Epiphany. One of the objects of interroga- 
tion being to ascertain, whether children give their atten- 
tion to what they learn by heart, it is better to draw the 
Lesson out of their mouths, by leading questions, than by 
requiring a recital by rote. 

Matthew vni. 1 — 13. 

1. "When Jesus was come down from the mountain," 
what happened? 

" Great multitudes followed him." 
From whence? 

" From Galilee, from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, 
and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan." — Matt. iv. 25. 

2. Who "came and worshipped him," and what was 

" A leper, saying, Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make 
me clean." 

Do you remember any case of a person being smitten 
with leprosy for his offences? 

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha — 2 Kings v. 27. 
What was his sin? 

Falsehood and eovetousncss. [Remarks upon these two 
vices naturally follow.] 

3. Did Jesus cure the leper? 



Yes. " Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, say- 
ing, I will, be thou clean ; and immediately his leprosy- 
was cleansed." 

When Naaman's leprosy was cured by Elisha the pro- 
phet, was it done thus immediately, and by a word? 

No. Naaman was directed to wash in Jordan seven 
times. — 2 Kings v. 

[Remarks upon the superiority of Christ over the pro- 
phets, &c] 

4. What did Christ command the leper to do, after he 
had cured him ? 

" See thou tell no man ; but go thy way, show thyself 
to the priest, and orfer the gift that Moses commanded for 
a testimony unto them." 

What did the priests do, according to the Mosaic law, 
when a leper was to be cleansed? 

" The priest commanded two birds to be cleansed alive, 
— one to be killed, and the other to be dipped in the blood 
of the bird that was killed, and then let loose in the open 
field." — Levit. xiv. 1 — 7. 

Did this ceremony represent any thing in which Chris- 
tians should believe ? 

It represented or signified the shedding of Christ's blood 
for sinners, by which they are cleansed from their sin.* 

5. When Jesus entered into Capernaum, who came to 

6. " A Centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, 
my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tor- 

* At a Catechetical Examination in my parish Church in Durham, 
a boy of about 14 years of ai;e came so well prepared, that he an- 
swered these two last questions in nearly the same words that I have 
here used. 


What three virtues did this Centurion show, in coming 
in this manner to Jesus ? 

Faith, in that he believed in Christ's divine mission, — 
Hope, in that he trusted in Christ's mercy, — Charity, in 
that he left his home on a work of kindness and love, not 
for his own, but for his servant's sake. 

Do you remember any other example of a good and pi- 
ous Centurion? 

"Cornelius, a devout man, and one that feared God, 
with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, 
and prayed to God alway." — Acts x. 2. 

7. Was Jesus inclined to grant the Centurion's request? 
" Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him." 

8. Did he go? 

" The Centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not wor- 
thy that thou shouldest come under my roof ; but speak 
the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 

9. " For I am a man under authority, having soldiers 
under me : and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth ; and 
to another, Come, and he cometh ; and to rny servant, do 
this, and he doeth it." 

What stranger, a great and honourable man, went like 
this Centurion to a prophet, to ask for a miracle, but with 
less humility ? 

Naaman, who was wroth when his request was not im- 
mediately granted, and turned and went away in a rage. — 
2 Kings v. 3, 4. 

10. When Jesus heard the Centurion, what did he say? 
" He marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily, 

I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in 

If the Centurion was not an Israelite, what do you sup- 
pose him to have been ? 


A Roman, — and a " proselyte," — that is, one believing 
in the true God, but not conforming to the whole of the 
Mosaic law. 

How did the Centurion's answer show his great faith? 

He did not require Christ's presence at his house. " Speak 
the word only, and my servant shall be healed." For I 
am a man under authority ; at my bidding I am obeyed. 
How much more shalt thou be obeyed by thy ministering 
spirits. If thou shalt but express thy will, it will be ac- 
complished. In what manner did Christ signify, that stran- 
gers and Gentiles should be admitted into the covenant of 

11. " And I say unto you, that many shall come from 
the east, and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, 
and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." 

Do you remember upon what occasion this truth was 
again announced to an Apostle, in reference to another 

When Peter was commanded in a vision to baptize Cor- 
nelius. — Acts x. 

How did Christ signify that outward profession and privi- 
leges will not avail, unless the terms of the covenant be 
obeyed ? 

12. "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out, 
into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing 
of teeth." 

You call yourself a member of Christ, a child of God, 
and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven ; for what must 
you pray, that you may not be cast into this darkness, 
where there will be such anguish and tribulation? 

" A death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness." 

How will your conduct testify that you have this grace? 


By repentance for my past sins, and by forsaking sin in 
future, and by believing stedfastly the promises of God, 
made to me, in the Sacrament of Baptism.* 

How did Jesus proclaim his divine power and mercy, in 
reference to the Centurion ? 

13. " And Jesus said, Go thy way, and as thou hast be- 
lieved, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed 
in the selfsame hour." 

Do you see any proofs of the Godhead of Christ, and of 
the doctrine of the Trinity in this miracle? 

Christ knew what was passing in the Centurion's heart, 
" as thou believest he knew his wish and his faith ; he 
knew that he had perfect and stedfast faith. This was a 
proof of his Omniscience. 

He healed with a word — " So be it done unto thee." 
As at the first creation, God said, " Let there be light, and 
there was light ;" so, " He commanded, and it was done." 
This was a proof of Christ's Omnipotence. 

" The servant was healed in the self same hour." This 
was a proof of Christ's ubiquity. His spirit was searching 
the Centurion's soul, and restoring the servant at a dis- 
tance to health, at the same lime. 

What similar proof was given of Christ's Divinity, as re- 
lated in another place by St. Matthew? 

When he cured the daughter of the woman of Canaan. 
" Be it unto thee as thou wilt : and her daughter was made- 
whole from that very hour." — Malt. xv. 28. 

It is by such a method as this, by relieving the subject, 
and carrying on the exercise with as much spirit and cheer- 

♦Upon all occasions it is my endeavour to lead the mind of the 
catechumen to compare the Catechism with Scripture. 


fulness as possible, by putting questions out of the common 
course ; by making one question lead to another ; by sound- 
ing the child's state of mind, or depth of understanding; 
by putting searching interrogatories ; by drawing attention 
to incidents and examples of Scripture that bear contrasting 
with some case before you ; by permitting the catechumen 
to proceed with his simple, and if it should be so, with his 
erroneous answer, that out of error you may illustrate truth ; 
by asking for the child's reasons, whether he makes a right 
or wrong reply ; by persuading him to speak out, and de- 
clare himself; by directing the examination judiciously to 
some point of doctrine, upon which it is apprehended there 
may be some misconstruction in the minds of any of the 
parishioners, who happen to be present ; and by intersper- 
sing such remarks, admonitions, and illustrations, as the 
occasion may suggest or require ; — it is thus, that power- 
ful effects are produced. 

Catechising conducted upon this principle is not a mat- 
ter of parade or form, it is something infinitely more; it is 
performed with the certainty that we are exercising, deve- 
loping, and directing the spiritual energies of the young ; 
while we are rousing their elders to recollection, and pro- 
voking them to emulation. 

Another extremely beneficial modification of the ordin- 
ance, is to put questions upon the leading articles of reli- 
gion, and to require answers in the literal words of Scrip- 
ture. Very little practice, and a few scholars well taught 
will soon put the mode in train. Nothing can be more 
salutary, more instructive, and I may add, more deeply 
interesting to by-standers, than to witness an exercise of 
this description ; to see the young Christian led up to the 
very fountain-head, to the well-spring of truth ; and to find 


that every word which proceeds from, or is put into his 
mouth, in illustration of the doctrines of his Church, is de- 
rived from Revelation. It cannot fail of exciting a spirit 
of enquiry, and in some instances of producing entire con- 
viction. " The Catechist claims a right to be heard as 
soon as he begins, and carries with him every unprejudiced 
suffrage as he advances."* 



How did God make himself known? 
" He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto 
the children of Israel." — Psalm ciii. 7. 
Could God be known without Revelation? 
"The world by wisdom knew not God." — 1 Cor. i. 21. 
What is God? 

"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must wor- 
ship him in spirit and in truth." — John iv. 24. 
Where is God ? 

" Do I not fill heaven and earth, saith the Lord." — Jer. 
xxiii. 24. 

Does God see all that we do? 

* See the Bible Catechism, by W. F. Lloyd. A cheap and un- 
pretending little volume, but well worthy of attention, which will 
greatly assist any Catechist who may feel inclined to adopt the sys- 
tem here recommended. 



"Thou God seest me." — Gen. xvi. 13. 

Is God inclined to forgive our sins? 

"Thou art a God ready to pardon,— slow to anger." — 
Nehem. ix. 17. 

Must we always obey God in all cases? 

" We ought to obey God rather than men." — Acts v. 29. 

By what name did God announce himself? 

" I am that I am." — Exod. iii. 14. 

By what attributes does St. Paul designate God? 

" The King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise 
God?— 1 Tim. i. 17. 


Why was the Messiah called Jesus ? 
" Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his 
people from their sins." — Matt. i. 21. 
Why was he called Emmanuel? 

" They shall call his name Emmanuel, which, being in- 
terpreted, is, God with us." — Matt. i. 23. 

What was Christ called in prophecy? 

" His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the 
mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." 
Isaiah ix. 

What did Christ call himself? 

" Because I said, I am the Son of God. — John x. 36. 

What did the Apostles say of Christ? 

" And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, 
and we beheld his glory, — the glory of the only begotten of 
the Father, full of light and truth." — John i. 14. 

" He is the propitiation for our sins." — 1 John ii. 2. 

" The Shepherd and Bishop ol our souls." — 1 Pet. ii. 25. 


« He is the Mediator of a better covenant." — Heb. viii. 6. 
" He ever liveth to make intercession for them." — Heb. 

vii. 25. 


Whatpromise did Christ give concerning the Holy Ghost? 

" I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another 
Comforter ; that he may abide with you for ever, even the 
Spirit of Truth.— John xiv. 16, 17. 

"The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the 
Father will send in my name." — John xxvi. 

Will the Holy Ghost be given to those who pray for him ? 

"If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts unto 
your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father 
give the Holy Ghost to them thai ask him." — Luke xi. 13. 

For what purpose is the Holy Ghost given ? 

« Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. — Rom. 

viii. 26. 

In what manner are the operations of the Holy Ghost 
described in Scripture ! 

" The Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul, 
for the work whercunto I have called them." — Acts xiii. 2. 

" They were forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach in 
Asia." — Acts xvi. 6. 

" The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city." — Acts 
xx. 23. 

" Take heed unto the flock, over which the Holy Ghost 
hath made you overseers." — Acts xx. 28. 



What does St. John say of Christ's Divinity ? 
" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God." — John i. 1. 
What does St. Paul say? 

"God was manifest in the flesh. — 1 Tim. iii. 16. 

Prove the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, by showing that 
eternity is ascribed to the Father, the Son, and the Holy 

" The mystery made manifest according to the com- 
mandment of the everlasting God." — Rom. xvi. 25, 26. 

" I (Jesus) am the first and the last. — Rev. xxii. 13. 

" Through the everlasting Spirit." — Heb. ix. 14. 

Prove it by the application of the term Holy One. 

" I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator." — 
Isaiah xliii. 15. 

" But ye denied the Holy One, and desired a murderer 
to be released unto you. — Acts iii. 14. 

" Ye have an unction from the Holy One." — 1 John 
ii. 20. 

miscellaneous doctrines explained in answers 
from scripture. 

What is original sin ? 

" By one man sin entered into the world, and death by 
sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have 
sinned." — Rom. v. 12. 

What sacrifice or ransom has been offered for sin ? 


" Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of 
himself. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." 
— Heb. ix. 26. 

What is the atonement of Christ? 

" The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all." — 
Isaiah Iv. 6. 

" He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." 
2 Cor. v. 19. 

What is the efficacy of prayer? 

" Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he 
shall give it you." — John xvi. 23. 

Why are we to keep the sabbath holy? 

" Hallow my sabbaths, they shall be a sign between me 
and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God." 
—Ezekiel xx. 20. 

Why is the new birth necessary ? 

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born 
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Ye must be 
born again." — John iii. 3. 7. 

What is the promise that the prayers of the young shall 
be heard ? 

" Those that seek me early shall find me." — Proverbs 
viii. 17. 

What examples have we of early piety? 

"The child Samuel ministered unto the Lord." And 
" Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him."— 1 Samuel 
iii. 1. 8. 

"In the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet 
young, Josiah began to seek after the God of David his 
father."— 2 Chr. xxxiv. 3. 

« From a child thou (Timothy) hast known the Holy 
Scriptures." — 2 Tim. iii. 15. 


Are disposition and true character manifested at an early 

" Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work 
be pure, and whether it be right." — Prov. xx. 11. 

There are not many Catechumens who could readily 
furnish answers to half these questions, but an important 
advantage is gained by proposing them, inasmuch as the 
instructor has the opportunity of directing attention to the 
passages referred to, and of proving, that the basis of his 
doctrines is founded on the rock of truth. 


A third branch of the interrogatory system, equally salu- 
tary, is to ask for explanations and definitions of the phra- 
ses and terms which occur in the Catechism, or which are in 
common use in the Church. Such as Baptism, Sacrament, 
Vow, Salvation, Catholic Church, Communion of Saints, 
Forgiveness, Resurrection, Redeemed, Sanctified, Elect peo- 
ple, Idol, Sabbath day, Covet, Neighbour, Spiritual, Ghostly 
enemy, Kingdom of God, New birth, Righteousness, Death 
unto Sin, Grace, Repentance, Sacrifice, New life, &c. &c. 

I do not recommend that these definitions should be re- 
quired only as opportunities arise in the course of the ex- 
amination, but that half an hour should be occasionally 
devoted to the express purpose of explaining the Christian 
vocabulary. Any thing which varies the service, and pro- 
duces rapid transition, from one idea to another, quickens 
attention, and is therefore usefully reduced to practice, 
where one of the first objects is to engage willing attention. 



Before I conclude this part of my subject, I wish to fur- 
nish your Lordship with a more distinct view of the real 
progress made by children under the system which has 
been adopted ; and for this purpose, I will beg your atten- 
tion to the ensuing questions and answers, which formed 
a leading feature of the examination on the Sunday before 
Easter, in the present year. The children drawn up in 
the chancel were of all ages from six to fifteen. Some of 
them had been in the Sunday School from its commence- 
ment, and had been trained weekly by myself, or by the 
assistant minister, Mr. Judkin, with the aid of Mr. Roberts, 
the indefatigable superintendent master, and twelve or fif- 
teen of the most respectable of the congregation of Somer's 
Town new Church, who volunteer their services every Sab- 
bath before Morning Prayers. The Catechumens were not 
in any respect prepared for the particular queries which 
were proposed to them, but as it was my wish on this oc- 
casion to obtain satisfactory answers, I must plainly ac- 
knowledge, that I addressed myself to those, who were 
most likely to give them. The replies were taken down 
at the time by a person whom I had previously requested 
to undertake this office, and they are now transcribed from 
his paper. 

Why is Passion Week so called ? 

Because Christ suffered and died in that week. 

What were Christ's sufferings, which gave name to this 
week ? 



His agony in the garden of Gethsemane, and death upon 
the Cross. 

What does God require in those, who hope to benefit 
by Christ's sufferings ? 

Faith in his word. ~\ 

Repentance of past sins. j> 

Obedience to his precepts. J 

What are the means of Grace ? 

God's word. 1 

Prayer. y 

The Sacrament. J 

In whose name are we to pray ? 

In Christ's. He told his disciples, Ask in my name. 

In what part of our Liturgy do you find this set forth? 

At the end of all the prayers, " Through Jesus Christ 
our Lord." 

What do you learn from the sufferings and death of 
Christ T 

Not answered. 

Why are you afraid of God's displeasure, more than 

" Because he can destroy both body and soul in hell." 
Do you remember any cases of God depriving men of 

life for their sins ? 

The destruction of all but Noah's family at the flood. "| 
Korah's company, Dathan and Abiram. ^ 
Ananias and Sapphira. J 
Can you state the names of any transgressors recorded 

in Scripture, whose souls, you have reason to believe, have 

perished ? 

Dives mentioned in the parable. / 
Judas Iscariot. \ 


Can you tell me of any sinners mentioned in Scripture, 
who repented, and of whom it is believed that they are re- 
ceiving the benefit of Christ's sacrifice ? 

The penitent thief. ? 

St. Paul, who once persecuted Christians. 3 

What must you do, when you are conscious of having 
offended God ? 

I must pray for forgiveness, and repent, and mend my 

Can you do this of yourself? 

Not without the help of God's Spirit, the Holy Ghost. 
How has Christ described the joys of heaven and the 
punishment of hell? 
Not answered. 

Summing up the Gospel history, what three great things 
did Jesus do for mankind? 
Not answered. 

How was Jesus received by the Jews ? 
Answer if you can in the words of Scripture. 

" He was despised and rejected of men." 

How did he endure his insults and sufferings? Again 
answer from Scripture. 

" When he was reviled, he reviled not again : when he 
suffered he threatened not." 

When Christ drew near the time of his death, and his 
agony increased, what did he do? 

Not answered. 

What did his disciples do, when he was taken before 
Pilate ? 

Forsook him and fled. 
What did Pilate say of him ? 


I find no fault in him. 

How did Christ pray for his enemies? 

Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. 

What was Christ's last prayer? 

" Father into thy hands I commend my spirit." 

After such evidence that the mental powers of children 
are called into action, and improved by this system, and 
that they soon become emulous to prepare themselves by 
previous study and application for the weekly scrutiny, it 
will naturally be asked, what proof have you, that they 
are the better in their general conduct, and that the truths 
which they are learning, make an impression upon their 
hearts? I have many proofs to give, but I shall reserve 
them until I discuss the utility of the plan, under its own 

The modifications proposed by your Lordship having 
been thus reduced to practice, it now becomes my very 
agreeable business to show, that the success secured by 
them has amply justified your Lordship's prediction, and 
my own experiment. 

" Catechising may be rendered popular as well as use- 
ful, and furnish an exhibition peculiarly interesting, and 
not uninstructive to the congregation. — It will give to the 
Clergy, in populous places, an opportunity of becoming 
known to the rising generation, in the character of 
pastors invested by lawful authority with the charge of 
their spiritual interests, and having a right to their atten- 
tion and obedience. It will act as a stimulus to domes- 


tic instruction, and prove one of the strongest incite- 
ments to the parents to teach, and to the children to learn."* 
Such were your Lordship's anticipations, and I will no- 
tice the accomplishment of them in order. 


There are very few human productions, upon which a 
Christian teacher can ground his instructions, with so much 
confidence as the Church Catechism. The Roman Catho- 
lic Catechisms run away into many points of faith and dis- 
cipline, which have no support whatever from the plain 
word of Scripture. Several of the best Catechisms of re- 
formed congregations are abstrusely doctrinal, — others are 
diffuse, and lengthened out into treatises; while our own 
is neither redundant nor dogmatical. It never wanders 
from Scripture, or runs into nice distinctions : it contains 
that alone in which all Christians are agreed. It raises no 
scruples, — it offends no prejudices, and its very brevity im- 
plies, that it leaves much to the judgment of the parish 
priest, and demands, that he does more than confine him- 
self to its concise phraseology ; that, taking its letter as his 
guide, ho makes a full and complete illustration of its Apos- 
tolical lessons. 

Hence the Clergyman, who commences his catechetical 
lectures with this manual in his hand, sets out in good hu- 
mour with all Christian men : every body is with him, — 
no man is against him. Those, who think the Catechism 

* Charge of 1818, p. 27, 28. also 1822, p. 25, 3 J edition. 


too short, look to him for amplification : those, who fancy 
it requires some explanation, are glad to have him for an 

His next advantage consists in the necessity, under which 
he lies, of adapting his style of instruction to the level of 
every age a.tH capacity. He is not catechising, when he 
ceases to be perfectly intelligible, easy, and familiar. The 
advice which has been so judiciously given to the Preacher, 
applies with tenfold force to the Catechist. " He must 
descend from the high and lofty tone of language, to walk 
in the humble terms of Scripture. He must limit his 
rounded periods, to the extent of vulgar comprehension. 
He must abound in interrogations and addresses, which 
the rules of composition condemn, in writing, though the 
rules of nature sanction them in speaking."*' 

For the lower orders especially, the system has " charms 
in its very homeliness ;" and it is the more attractive, be- 
cause it allows of many topics being intermixed, which a 
Clergyman would be unwilling to discuss from the pulpit, 
but which he may beneficially, and without any compro- 
mise of the gravity of his office, introduce from the Cate- 
chetical chair. " Whereas in sermons there is a kind of 
state, in catechising there is an humbleness very suitable 
to Christian regeneration."")" 

By-standers, of all degrees and attainments, take an in- 
terest in observing how the scroll of human nature is un- 
folded by this exercise, and how easily it is read on such 
occasions; they are pleased in seeing the effects which re- 
ligious doctrine have upon youthful minds and spirits, — in 

• See Sumner's Apostolical Preaching, p. 1 1, ed. 5. 
f Herbert's Country Parson. 


listening to replies, which display the different dispositions 
and abilities of children ; — in witnessing the development 
of character and genius, — and in comparing their own re- 
ligious advancement and acquirements with those of the 
juvenile circle before them. Many of my congregation 
have made no secret of confessing, that they could not 
answer questions proposed, as well as the children have 
done, and that they have been thankful for the opportunity 
of picking up information, without the shame or the trouble 
of asking for it. They have made a still more important 
acknowledgment, — viz. that they have taken hints and re- 
bukes kindly, which were aimed at them through younger 
marks, when a direct reproof would have been intolerable. 
" Admonitions directed to the young find their way, ob- 
liquely indeed, but often effectually, to the bosoms of the 

A parish priest, who resides among his people, and who 
is acquainted with their spiritual state, may indeed, with 
perfect fearlessness, take advantage of a Catechetical ex- 
amination, to hazard remarks which would be thought in- 
dicative of a jealous and controversial spirit towards per- 
sons of a different persuasion, or personally offensive to- 
wards individuals, were they spoken solemnly and with 
premeditation from the pulpit. It is the informal, the ex- 
temporaneous, the natural character of the address ; it is 
the observation growing out of circumstances, and out of 
the unexpected turn, which is sometimes given to the dis- 
course ; it is the word forced from the mouth, while the 
heart is full ; it is the genuine feeling, and honest opinion of 
the Pastor, which will have utterance, when all his concern 

• Archdeacon Baylcy. 


is awakened in behalf of his young flock ; it is the tongue 
that speaks, when the fire of truth is kindled ; it is this, 
which makes indulgent and attentive hearers, and renders 
all that is said welcome and impressive. 

For these reasons, the Catechist may make his instruc- 
tions local, and adapt them to the particular state of thought, 
knowledge, opinion, errors or morals, which prevail in his 
neighbourhood, and yet give no disgust, because personality 
cannot be imputed when children are the parties immedi- 
ately addressed.* 

But even supposing the parochial minister's voice may 

* Is there not reason to believe, that the doctrines of the Reforma- 
tion would find their way more generally to the hearts and under- 
standings of the people in Ireland, if the Clergy of the Established 
Church would practise Catechising upon a more extended scale ? 
In India many prejudices have been removed by this means ; and 
where the natives will not listen to a Sermon, or to a controversial 
discussion, professedly directed against their superstitions, they will 
gather round children, who are being examined in Scriptural exer- 
cises, and take pleasure in hearing their explanations. 

The following is an extract from the Report of a Missionary : — 
" A relation of the Rajah of Tanjore, who sends his son to our 
school for instruction, sent me word, that if I would examine the 
school at his house, he should feel obliged, and would be present at 
the examination. I wished him to allow me to occupy his verandah 
instead of the house, which he got in readiness for the examination. 
When I -was examining the children, a crowd, and among them 
some very respectable heathens, came to the place to be present ; 
but, as I had anticipated, his servants were posted to keep the people 
at such a distance, that but very few could hear me ; on my observing 
to him, that the Word of God should be made known to every one 
who has a desire for it, he ordered his servants to let the people come 
near the verandah. I had now an advantage, by having more hearers 
than usual." 


sound harshly in some ears, or touch chords that vibrate 
unpleasantly in some hearts, yet all will admit, that he has 
a right to address himself, as a reprover, a counsellor, or 
an expounder of doctrine, to the children of his own flock, 
and that it is nothing more than just deference to the paren- 
tal authority in which he stands invested, to bear with him, 
as with a person privileged to use plainness, or sharpness. 

It is not for me to say how many of the causes here re- 
cited have had their operation in the scene of my own la- 
bours ; but I may affirm, without any fear of contradiction, 
that since Catechising has been regularly pursued in Som- 
er's Town, there has been no other sentiment expressed, 
than that of satisfaction and approbation. Many come 
to Church regularly, who were not regular before ; some 
come who never entered Church doors before. The in- 
terest taken in the practice is so great, that no small incon- 
venience arises from the numbers, who crowd up to the 
place of examination, exhibiting an eagerness to catch 
every word; and it is difficult to find space enough, near 
the chancel, to accommodate such as are anxious to see, 
as well as to hear, all that is going on. 

The most respectable inhabitants of the parish are in 
the habit of bringing their children, and some of them have 
warmly expressed their thankfulness for the example, as 
well as for the instruction, which they find so profitable to 
the younger members of their families. Parents, and rela- 
tives of the children examined, take, as it may be expected, 
more than ordinary pleasure in the service, and tears of joy 
are often seen gushing from their eyes, when the objects 
of their more immediate concern are rewarded, or com- 
mended for the manner in which they may have acquitted 


But perhaps nothing has contributed to prove the efficacy 
and popularity of the system more strongly, than the in- 
ducement it is found to hold out to young persons, beyond 
the usual age of scholars, to present themselves Sunday 
after Sunday for the acquirement of further knowledge, or 
for the purpose of instructing others. I shall have to speak 
elsewhere of such as come with the praiseworthy motive 
of offering their services as teachers ; it is enough to state 
here in a few words, that there are many apprentices and 
servants of both sexes, who take their places regularly 
amidst the children, and show an anxiety to be questioned 
with the rest. In fact, the catechumens of all ages take 
so lively a concern in the endeavours that are made to im- 
prove them, and to inculcate salutary religious sentiments, 
that they are not only voluntary, but cheerful attendants. 
The time occupied is usually less than an hour, but when 
it is exceeded, there are few symptoms of impatience, and 
many indications that these exercises, and the preparation 
for them, are considered as among the happier hours of 
their life. 

How can I doubt that even the youngest of my charge 
find entertainment as well as improvement, when I perceive 
that as the interrogations advance, their eyes lighten up, 
their imaginations outrun their power of utterance, their 
anxiety to reply gets the better of bashfulness, and their 
mental activity increases, as long as I continue to propose 
questions, which exercise thought or ingenuity 1 In fact, 
they are pleased to find themselves taking part in a con- 
versational exercise, and delighted at every fresh discovery 
of the secret, that their own minds are capable of effort, 
and that they themselves can explain as well as repeat. 



When a religious service finds so many persons of all 
ages and conditions, who are willingly disposed to wait 
upon it, — it cannot but lead to some results which are of 
the highest importance to the Christian cause. 

A strong regard, and a strong reciprocity of confidence 
grow out of the Clergyman's attempt to train up his young 
flock in the way they should go, and out of the disposition 
evinced by the congregation, to stimulate the assiduity of 
the children by their presence. — He has our best interests 
at heart, he labours to build us up in our holy faith, to 
lead our thoughts, and to fix our attention on that which is 
necessary to salvation. He is not satisfied with our for- 
mal and verbal acquiescence, he requires a sincere and a 
conscientious assent. He takes a parental interest in our 
children, and as though he were Parent, Sponsor, and 
Priest, he provides in all things for their 1 souls' health.' 
He acts towards them as though he had the Scriptural 
portrait of the good shepherd ever before his eyes. He 
gathers the lambs with his arm, and carries them in his 
bosom. He brings back that which was driven away. 
He seeks that which was lost. — Such are the reflections of 
the parishioners in regard to their Pastor. The Parish 
Priest entertains corresponding sentiments. He loves his 
flock the more affectionately, because they follow him, and 
know his voice, because they will not follow a stranger. 
They are the more and more endeared to him, in that they 
place themselves under his guidance, and consent to be 
directed by his hand. It is the willingness of parents, 
children, masters of families and of their dependents, to 
be taught of him, and to give themselves up to his super- 


visal, which animates his affection, and cements the union.* 
But these are general reflections. I am bound to show, 
not what the state of things is likely to be, but what it is, 
as actually resulting from the system under my own man- 

Here then, in a district, situated between a dense popu- 
lation on one side, where there arc numberless evil seduc- 
tions: and the outskirts of London on the other, where 
young people are tempted to spend the Sabbath in pro- 
faneness, or in idle roaming about the fields : here, be- 
tween two and three hundred children are not only per- 
suaded to come to Church, but to devote the hours imme- 
diately before and after public worship to religious acqire- 
ments. And not only so, but many of their relatives and 
friends, moved by their example, or anxious or curious to 
know the extent of their proficiency, are induced to follow 
them to the same place of instruction, and to pass, in seri- 
ousness, time which might otherwise be consumed in levity 
or sin. So much of the Sabbath being spent becomingly, 
it is reasonable to hope, that the remainder of it will not 
be mis-spent, and that a great number of responsible be- 
ings are put in the way, by this simple ordinance, of culti- 
vating a spirit of true devotion, and of reflecting at home 
on what they have been learning in the house of God. 

* Should it become more general in the Parochial Clergy to de- 
vote a portion of their time to the public instruction of children in 
Church, might we not hope, that sponsors also would begin to en- 
tertain more serious notions of the responsibility of their office? 
" Ye shall call upon them to hear sermons," is one of the baptismal 
exhortations. The short and practical discourses, which find their 
way into catechetical examinations, are " sermons" which it would 
do well for sponsors to invite their adopted children to attend. 


Have we not cause to expect a blessing upon such la- 
bours, when a blessing has been promised ? 

After all, says Seeker, the most valuable instruction* 
for servants, for children, and for all persons, is the public 
one of the Church, which our Saviour himself hath prom- 
ised to bless with his presence. 

" Gather the people together, men, and women, and 
children, that they may hear, and that they may learn and 
fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words 
of his law, and that their children which have not known 
any thing, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God. "f 

Several adults, who had not been previously admitted 
into the Church, have, at their own request, received the 
Sacrament of Baptism, in consequence of the impression 
made upon their minds, by remarks which they have heard, 

• Wherever the system is adopted, that is where instruction is 
conveyed, not merely by teaching the catechisms, but by catechising, 
the blessing of God appears to crown the undertaking. The an- 
nexed account is extracted from the last Report of the Society for 
Promoting Christian Knowledge, p. 39. 

" From Barbados the Society learns that there is a progressive 
desire on the part of the slave to receive, and of the higher classes 
to impart the blessings of religion. The Catechetical system ex- 
plained in the last Annual Report, has advanced materially during 
the year which has just closed ; and Sunday Schools have been 
opened in many places. It appears that by the united exertions of 
the clergy and their catechists, with the personal co-operation of the 
proprietors, their families, and overseers, by far the greater number 
of estates in this island are receiving the benefits of religious in- 
struction; and one good effect already perceived has been an in- 
creased attendance of the Negroes at Church, where they behave 
with exemplary decorum." 

f Deut. xxxi. 12, 13. 


after questions on the nature of baptismal vows and prom- 
ises, and the efficacy of the baptismal covenant. 

Many young persons of both sexes, and of different con- 
ditions in life, have kindly proffered their aid, and have re- 
quested permission to act as Teachers, and to prepare the 
children for their catechetical examination. They not only 
attend at an early hour on Sunday mornings, but they 
have signified their readiness to give lessons, during the 
summer months, from six till half-past seven on Sunday 
evenings. Not to dwell upon the advantage, which the 
children themselves derive from the superintendence of 
steady instructors, who are fully aware of the obligations 
of the Christian Covenant, whose age and respectability 
give weight to their admonitions, and who exercise an au- 
thority over the minds of boys and girls, which monitors 
chosen from among themselves could not be expected to 
attain ; it is a most important point gained, to have such 
coadjutors enlisted in our cause, and to unite them closer 
and closer to our Church, by bringing them into frequent 
converse with us. 

The relation does not end here ; the intercourse which 
begins so kindly is improved, and in all his pastoral func- 
tions the parish priest may look to have his hands strength- 
ened, his plans seconded, and his influence extended, by 
the zeal and affectionate partizanship of these his lay friends 
and assistants, who are first united with him as fellow- 
labourers in the work of religious education. 

With regard to the children themselves, out of several 
cases, to which my inquiries and observations have been 
directed, the following will not be thought unworthy of se- 
lection : — A boy of fourteen years of age, after having at- 
tended the catechising for some months, was bound appren- 


tice, or placed in the service of a tradesman in the Borough. 
His master employs him on Sunday mornings, but permits 
him to call his time his own after noonday. The lad 
regularly finds his way to the Church in Somer's Town, 
makes his appearance at afternoon Prayers and Sermon, 
and takes his place in the chancel for examination, among 
his former companions. None answer better than himself; 
he evidently devotes many of his leisure hours to religious 
study, and has made himself master of a Bible and Prayer 
Book, partly by producing tickets of merit, and partly by 
purchase money. He is altogether, from disposition, good 
conduct, and application, a youth of considerable promise. 

The annexed letter from another lad of fourteen years 
and a half, who has also left the Parish, but is occasionally 
seen among our children, will tell his history and state of 
mind better than any words I can adopt. It is addressed 
to the master of the Sunday School. 

"I hardly know how to express my gratitude enough 
for the kindness and learning which I received while at 
your Sunday School, but I am obliged to discontinue at- 
tending, as I have got a situation at Mr. , West- 
minster, who is a very religious good man, and with him 
I am very comfortable and happy. I should feel obliged 
to you, if you would give my best thanks to Mr. Judkin,* 
for the learning I have received from him, which I hope 
will never die in my memory. I have paid one shilling to 
a large Bible, and will send all as soon as possible; if you 
will have the goodness to send me one, when I have paid 

* Assistant minister of Somer's Town. 


enough to purchase one. I think you have also some 
tickets of mine, if you please to send me a little book for 
them, you would oblige, dear Sir, 

Your ever grateful servant, 

R. B." 

These two boys have displayed the same uniform atten- 
tion and good conduct, during the whole of their connexion 
with us. The subjoined cases are of a ditferent descrip- 

Samuel , long after his admission into the Sun- 
day School, was so untractable and perverse, that his 
teachers began to despair of his reformation. It was even 
proposed to expel him. But indications of improvement 
were gradually exhibited, and he is now pronounced to be 
among the most attentive and best behaved of his class. 

Another lad, whose name it is not necessary to mention, 
was for many weeks in the habit of mixing unwillingly 
among the children at their Sunday examinations. His 
master insisted upon it, under the hope of seeing an obsti- 
nate and disobedient temper improved. The boy has de- 
rived so much benefit by his attendance, that his master is 
trying the same experiment with a second youth in his 

A girl, whose ready answers and good conduct lately 
attracted my notice, was represented to me, as having been 
so giddy and ill-behaved, when she first came among us, 
that it would have been pronounced "enthusiasm" to have 
looked for any effectual change. She is now in the highest 
class, and after receiving several rewards, has saved 
money enough to purchase one of our best bibles. 

Added to these and many other examples of the same 


nature, there are several very young children, whose emu- 
lation has been so strongly excited, that I have been obliged 
to check it, lest their application during the week should 
prove injurious to their health. One of these, not seven 
years of age, came prepared, upon a late occasion, to re- 
peat the whole of the eighth chapter of St. John, — fifty-nine 
verses, — the self-imposed exercise of the past week. Every 
Sunday, a hundred voices exclaim, " I have learnt the Col- 
lect — and I the Gospel, — and I a page of Lewis's Exposi- 
tion of the Catechism." 

The system thus affords the Clergyman an opportunity 
of becoming known to the rising generation, and extending 
his influence among them. This is one of the most sub- 
stantial advantages obtained by catechising. It follows as 
a certain consequence. Kindness always finds its way to 
the hearts of young persons, and more particularly when 
it proceeds from those, whom they are in the habit of re- 
garding as persons vested with authority. From the very 
constitution of our Church Establishment, and from other 
causes, which it is unnecessary to discuss, the youth of the 
lower orders seem to require more than ordinary invitation 
to approach us. Catechising, well conducted, breaks down 
this partition wall; the child's bosom opens to the minister, 
who frequently accosts him in a voice of affectionate con- 
cern, and manifests an interest in his behalf. Seeing that 
there is some feeling for him, he loves and reverences the 
man, for whom he before entertained nothing more than 
cold respect. The parents also are bound by cords of love 
to the priest, who takes more than formal and official notice 
of their children, — who holds his station among them, not 
merely as a national functionary, rendering back a mea- 
sured return of duty for the revenue he draws, — but whose 


intercourse is an intercourse of zeal, and friendship, and 
affection, exercised equally towards old and young. In 
more instances that one, I have found a whole family 
moved by means of a child, who has been desired to repeat 
at home what he has learnt at Church, and to read a par- 
ticular passage to his father or mother, or to warn a brother 
or a sister, who has not yet been restrained by the fear of 

The catechumens themselves, conscious that the Clergy- 
man has his eye upon them, measure their conduct accord- 
ingly, and are oftentimes restrained in an hour of tempta- 
tion, by the apprehension, that a knowledge of their trans- 
gression would expose them to his reproof, and to the 
charge of inconsistency. It is frequently enough to say to 
them, What, will you, who have answered so well at the 
examination in Church, and received the commendations 
of your minister, will you now act in direct violation of 
the precepts, which you then professed to observe? Will 
you, who have had a kind counsellor and friend in your 
parish priest, turn your back upon him, and go to unauthor- 
ized persons for spiritual direction, when you have had so 
many proofs that he is much more deeply concerned in 
your spiritual integrity and safety, than any stranger 
can be ? 

It is not, however, my wish to go into any great length 
upon these topics, important as they are. I have merely 
proposed to give a sketch, in outline, of the superstructure 
which a good master builder may erect upon catechising : 
it will therefore be enough to add, on this head, that one 
great desideratum in our ecclesiastical system, may be sup- 
plied by it. 

For the most part we lose sight of our flock at a very 


dangerous period of life,— after they leave the Parochial 
Schools. Except during the short seasons, few and far 
between, which are devoted to the preparation for Confir- 
mation, young persons, from fifteen to twenty years of 
age, arc seldom brought into contact with their Clergyman.* 
The Catechist makes opportunities of intercourse, of famil- 

[* " Nor can I leave this branch of the subject, without, at least, a 
slight allusion to that which, in my judgment, is by far the most in- 
teresting duty of the pastoral office, the nurture and the instruction 
of the young. To no other exercise of his fidelity and patience, can 
the Christian minister so certainly look for future increase, or for 
present satisfaction. To the regular catechetical instruction, to the 
Sunday School, to the Bible Class, to whatever can bring the youth 
of his congregation about him, engage them in religious inquiries, 
and impress them with religious truth, let him assiduously devote 
himself. Let him begin early, and late leave off; — engaging the in- 
fant soldiers of the Cross, from the time that they first leave their 
mother's arms ; and never letting them go, till, as grown up men 
and women, they are themselves fit to become teachers and examples 
to the flock. In both these respects, — in beginning too late, and 
leaving off too early, — the Church is greatly the sufferer. The 
baptismal font does not now duly lead, as it was wont, and ever 
should, first to the chancel rail, and then to the table of the Lord. 
Many that are baptised, never ask for confirmation. Many that are 
confirmed, come not to that holy supper. The Church loses her 
hold upon them ; and they are but too often lost to her, — to them- 
selves, — to the world, — to God. These things, surely, ought not so 
to be. That, so far as in us lies, they may not be so, let us follow 
his example, who, in that beautiful prophetic picture, ' feeds his 
flock like a shepherd, gathering the lambs with his arms, and carry- 
ing them in his bosom ;' — let us ever bear in mind, his affectionate 
appeal to the Apostle Peter, and make it the test, by which, to our 
own hearts, we try our love for him, — ' Simon, son of Jonas, lovest 
thou me, more than these 1 Feed my lambs.'" — Bishop Doans, 
Primary Charge.] 


iarizing himself with names and countenances and dispo- 
sitions, which other ministers, especially in very large 
parishes, cannot hope to enjoy. He gives himself a right, 
which is willingly conceded to him, of enquiring after those, 
whom he has been in the habit of instructing every week, 
in their progress from tender to riper years. Should he 
hear, or see, or learn from others, that they are going 
astray, either in opinion or practice, he has an appeal to 
them, which they cannot easily resist. Whether he shall 
miss them at Church, or at the Sacrament, or whatever be 
his reason to suspect that they are departing from the way 
of truth, he has opened a door to their hearts and under- 
standings, which no man can shut : which they themselves 
cannot close against him, and through which he may re- 
gain access whenever he pleases. 


Of all excitements that have ever been devised, to en- 
courage the parents to teach, and the children to learn, 
there is none like this. The publicity of the proceedings, — 
the solemnity of the place, — the presence and earnestness 
of the Pastor of the flock, — the honest pride which the 
parents take in having an opportunity of proving to their 
neighbours and acquaintances, that they have not neglected 
their children, — and the gratification of the children in re- 
ceiving praise or rewards * in the face of all whom they 

* The Bishop of Salisbury was present at one of these examina- 
tions in Somer's Town Chapel, and being highly pleased with the 


are accustomed to hold in respect ; each of these is enough 
in itself to operate powerfully upon the mind during the 
week, and to spur on old and young 10 make preparation 
against the ensuing enquiry. What then may be expected 
to be the result when these motives aci in combination, 
when they are constantly at work, when there is no inter- 
mission, but when every Sabbath makes new demands 
upon the same attention ? * 

I will confine myself to the mention of two facts in proof 
of the strong feeling, which prevails in families, to qualify 
the children for the catechetical examination in Church. 

The mother of eleven children in Somer's Town, sends 
seven of them to Church to be catechised, and three of 
these arc so well trained by her, that they are among the 
best of those who answer. They all come prepared with 
some portion of the Scripture, or expositions of the cate- 
chism, committed to memory during the week. 

At a very early stage of our proceedings, a boy of about 
eleven years of age, was noticed for the extraordinary 
readiness of his answers, w hen he was asked for Scriptural 

answers of three or four children, he kindly gave them a piece of 
money each. These young folks were so excessively gratified by 
the notice of his Lordship, that they preserve his presents, and wear 
them as medals round their necks. 

• A Letter from my parish in the country, where the system has 
been tried upon the same plan, gives the following pleasing account 
of its success. 

" The new plan answers remarkably well, and I have had clear 
proof that it will operate as a stimulus, not only to the children 
themselves, but to those connected with them. I drew out several 
little confessions, that brother A., and sister B., and aunt D., had 
been hearing and questioning the young folks at home." — See Let- 
ter from the same writer, page 182. 


references. It was explained to me, that his father, who 
had previously been inattentive to his religious duties, be- 
gan to " search Scripture" with his child every evening, 
with the view of preparing him for the Sunday questions. 
That, which commenced with the mere desire of making 
his son a prpficient in an exercise of memory, has ended 
in conviction, and the man is now a reformed character. 

Such, my Lord, are the remarks which I have thrown 
together as concisely as possible, more in the form of frag- 
ments and hints, than of a regular disquisition, under the 
hope of inducing other Clergymen to give their serious con- 
sideration to the merits of an ordinance, which most men 
know how to appreciate in theory, while few are disposed 
to try its effect in its several practical bearings.* But since 
a plan adopted by myself may seem to require something 
more than my own testimony in evidence of its practica- 
bility and success, I beg attention to the annexed extract 
of a letter, addressed to me by a Lay friend, who witnessed 
the manner in which the business of catechising was car- 
ried on by my Curate, during my absence from Somer's 
Town, and the impression made upon the children and the 

" I was last Sunday afternoon at Somer's Town chapel. 
Perceiving many of the congregation collecting round the 
Communion-table after the service, to hear the children of 
the district Schools catechised, I joined the throng. It was 
indeed a most gratifying scene. The children, to the num- 
ber of one hundred and fifty, or sixty, evidently assembled 
willingly ; they came not as by constraint to an ungrate- 
ful task. They seemed to feel that they were in the pre- 

[* Far too true \—Am. Ed.] 


sonce of their fathers and their mothers, their relations and 
their friends ; they were cheered, too, by the interest which 
was manifested by many of their richer neighbours. The 
spectators, I was glad to observe, were numerous, and of 
all ranks and ages. Nothing could exceed the kindness 
of Mr. Judkin's manner. His questions related chiefly to 
the Lessons, the Collect, and the Epistle and Gospel for 
the day, parts of which many of the children had learned 
during the week. Their answers were frequently extremely 
pertinent and correct ; and if they hesitated, they were en- 
couraged to say what they did think and know, though 
they might err widely from the mark ; and by thus learn- 
ing the extent and nature of their ignorance, the Catechist 
was the better able to instruct them, xattj^iv top zoyov. 
The young Catechumens seemed to feel that something 
more was required of them than answers, with which their 
lips had been long familiar. When a question was pro- 
posed, it immediately arrested their attention ; and if they 
perceived, or thought they perceived the answer, they 
strove to catch the eye of the examiner. The sacredness 
of the place prevented any unseemly bursts, but their emu- 
lation was not checked by unnecessary form. 

" It is impossible to suppose that the by-standers did not 
profit by such an examination ; the mere questions must 
have incited many to reflect ; and the words of instruction 
and advice, which were offered from time to time by the 
Catechist, could not be lost. And surely he does not 
rightly conceive the duty of a Catechist, w ho thinks it satis- 
fied by asking certain formal questions, and hearing the 
prescribed answers. The occasions which an examination 
must offer, are the most valuable for reproof and explana- 
tion of the doctrines of the Gospel. 


" What a contrast between the animated scene I have 
faintly sketched, and the system set forth by the Canon ! 
The service of the Church is interrupted ; a dozen children 
are drawn up before the reading desk in prim array, and 
repeat the words of their Catechism. This mode is incon- 
venient and uninteresting, and is therefore seldom adopted. 
But what is the consequence? Catechetical instruction is 
almost disused in our Churches, though its observance is 
recommended by the most potent considerations." 


The preceding pages give an account of an experiment 
made in the metropolis: your Lordship will have no ob- 
jection to hear how the system may work in a country 
town, and in a parish where it might be thought, that the 
introduction of a new force was not so imperiously neces- 

In November last, I became the Incumbent of St. Mar- 
garet's, a parish in Durham. The population is about 
three thousand, and I found the way prepared for me by 
the labours of two eminent predecessors,* each of w hom 
had distinguished the period of his cure by some beneficial 
improvement in the parish. The Clergyman, whom I im- 
mediately succeeded, had put into efficient training a Sun- 
day-school, and an Infant-school, and had secured such 
an ample provision of Bibles, Testaments, and Prayer- 
books, that there is scarcely a family which cannot pro- 

* The Dean of Chester, and the Rev. W. N. Darnell. 


duce a proof of his zeal, in their possession of a copy of 
the Scriptures. The path thus smoothed, had been further 
improved by the constant residence of a curate,* who has 
been, during sixteen years, The Parish Priest, in every 
sense of that term, full of meaning as it is. All possible 
means were open to me of putting myself in immediate 
communication with my new flock, through the introduc- 
tion of one who knew them all, and was known of them. 
Therefore, if Somer's Town presented a fair spot for the 
experiment of catechising, on your Lordship's modified 
plan, in consequence of the difficulties, which a parochial 
Clergyman would have to encounter there, St. Margaret's 
might also be regarded as favourable ground, in considera- 
tion of its facilities. 

Perceiving afternoon prayers to be indifferently attended, 
and the Sunday-school to furnish a muster very unequal 
to the numbers on the list, I determined to have recourse 
to catechising forthwith, and I looked with sanguine expec- 
tation to the result. The effect was even greater than that 
which I anticipated. The afternoon congregation increased 
every Sunday ; and in ten weeks the number of children 
in attendance at school, which did not exceed 60 on the 
first day I officiated, had swelled to 146. It has now 
reached 160. 

I derive no small satisfaction from having an opportunity 
of inserting the following Report, by Mr. George, of the 
improvement already resulting from steady perseverance 
in the practice. It is important to have the opinion of a 
Clergyman who has reflected so much and so seriously 
upon the nature of clerical duties, and to adduce such an 

* The Rev. P. George. 


accession as this to the valuable authorities which I have 
already cited in behalf of Public Catechising. 

" In compliance with your request, I send you a hasty 
sketch of the plan of Catechising in the Church, first 
adopted when you became the Incumbent, and still con- 
tinued ; together with a statement of the effects it has pro- 

" It seems proper, in the first place, to advert briefly to 
the nature and extent of our population ; and also to cer- 
tain measures which had previously been put into operation. 
The population of the Parish amounts to more than 3000; 
and is of a very indigent and fluctuating character. Being 
a detached suburb of a considerable town, and abounding 
in mean houses, which are, moreover, in a multitude of 
instances, divided into tenements occupied by distinct fami- 
lies; — it naturally becomes, for these reasons, the abode 
of the poorest orders ; and, on some other accounts, also 
attracts very many of the vagrants, and loose and suspi- 
cious characters, who pass along the great North-road. 
These circumstances, in conjunction with the almost total 
want of accommodation in the Church, for the mass of the 
poorer orders, (until within the last three or four years) 
tended, in no ordinary degree, to cherish vice and igno- 
rance, and a total apathy to religion, and, indeed, to im- 
provement of any kind. One essential step towards the 
amelioration of a Parish so circumstanced, seemed to be 
the providing accommodation for the poorer orders in the 
Church. A free gallery was, accordingly, erected at the 
suggestion, and through the exertions of the last Incum- 
bent ; which, although by no means adequate to supply the 
wants of the Parish, has proved a material aid. The edu- 
cation of the children was obviously the next step, which 


afforded any prospect of success. By giving them reli- 
gious instruction, and training them to habits of due ob- 
servance of the Lord's day, and attendance at Church, it 
was hoped that many of them would not only be rescued 
from the ignorance and irreligion which surrounded them, 
but that they might be made the means of bringing a bene- 
ficial influence to bear on their parents and relatives, 
whose habits had become such as to make them scarcely 
accessible by other means. With this view, a Sunday- 
school was established, and subsequently, an Infant-school 
by way of nursery and preparation, for it. In addition to 
this, the several dames' and other schools in the Parish, 
were regularly visited by the Clergyman, for the purpose 
of securing due attention to the teaching of the Church 
Catechism, and of watching over the progress of the chil- 
dren in it. By these means religious instruction was, in 
some measure, advanced among the mass of the children, 
and the way cleared for the adoption of your plan of Cate- 
chising in Church ; which, before, would have been, if not 
impracticable, at least much less interesting and efficient, 
on account of the very small number of children, who were 
capable of any thing beyond the merest elementary in- 

" In forming a plan for Catechising in the Church, it 
was of great importance to adapt it, not only to the instruc- 
tion of the children themselves, but so as also to excite the 
notice of their parents and relatives, and to render it a vehicle 
of attractive instruction ; and consequently of some general 
interest to a congregation. With these views a portion of 
the Church Catechism is given out to be got up during the 
week, together with some texts of Scripture, that are con- 
firmatory or explanatory of the doctrines or precepts, 


which it contains. The Sunday Collect is also committed 
to memory, and the children are encouraged to endeavour 
to prepare themselves to answer such questions as the mat- 
ter it contains may suggest. In addition to these, the Gos- 
pel for the day is learnt or read over by the children ; a 
certain number of verses by each, (several of them vol- 
untarily get up the whole) and they are required to state 
the incidents recorded in it ; the doctrines or precepts it 
teaches ; the promises or threatenings it holds forth, 6cc; 
and to quote the references it may contain, on any of the 
above particulars, to the Scriptures of the Old Testament. 
Tickets of merit are distributed publicly in Church, at the 
conclusion of the Catechising, to those who have answered 
best ; and a certain number of these entitle their possessors 
to a Bible, New Testament, or Prayer-book, or some other 
suitable gift, which is also bestowed publicly. The Sun- 
day-school is now so regulated as to be in every respect 
preparatory for the above plan of Catechising in Church, 
which is held out, and is considered by the children in a 
remarkable degree, as a great distinction and privilege to 
be attained to. 

"If it be now asked, what have been the effects of this 
plan? It is answered, First, It has more than doubled the 
numbers at the Sunday-school. Secondly, The order and 
discipline among the children have been greatly improved; 
and are now maintained with a degree of ease before un- 
known ; in consequence of the value attached to the Cate- 
chising in Church, both by children and parents, and the 
desire to merit the distinction of being admitted to it. 
Thirdly, It has attracted a respectable congregation in the 
afternoon, when very few attended before. Fourthly, It 
has excited many among the poorer classes (of which seve- 


ral striking proofs have occurred) to endeavour to assist 
their children in preparing themselves, as well for the Cate- 
chising in the Church, as for the examinations in the school ; 
a circumstance which cannot fail to prove highly benefi- 
cial, and of which there have been already proofs, espe- 
cially in the attendance of many poor parents, and others, 
on divine worship, who formerly, very much, if not alto- 
gether, neglected it. Fifthly, It is evidently working a 
great improvement in the general behaviour of the children 
during the week, probably from the feeling, that the eyes 
of the public are more particularly fixed on them, in con- 
sequence of their appearing at the Catechising in Chnrch, 
and also, it may be hoped, in consequence of the instruc- 
tion they have there received. These are plain facts, 
which admit not of being doubted; and which fully bear 
out the expectations entertained by you, with regard to the 
utility of public Catechising in Church, if judiciously man- 
aged, and vigorously pursued. Its influence may be made 
to operate where a Clergyman's preaching never, perhaps, 
reaches ; and where his advice and admonitions can be 
heard only on an occasional visit, and will then be heard 
too often only to be speedily forgotten. It operates upon 
parents through a channel which remains open, when every 
other is, perhaps, shut — through their feelings for their 
children. It forms the most effectual check to dissent ; 
and if it were generally adopted, and well conducted, 
would, if I may venture to state my humble opinion, most 
powerfully extend the influence and usefulness of the 
Church among the mass of the people than any other ex- 
pedient that could be devised " 



My Lord, I have now come to a termination of my pro- 
posed task. The system which I have adopted in your 
diocese, will, I trust, be continued by my successor, and I 
take leave of the district, with an earnest hope, that the 
beneficial results of a plan originating in your Lordship's 
Charge, will be of a lasting nature. The experiment has 
been tried, and fully stated ; and my object will be as fullv 
attained, if any persons who entertain low views concern- 
ing the duty of Catechising, or if any, whose practice does 
not correspond with their proper estimate of its importance, 
shall be induced to give their serious attention to the subject. 

A service, which has been sanctioned by the example of 
the primitive Church, and of early reformed Churches: 
which has been enjoined by the Canons and Rubrics, and 
recommended by the most distinguished divines of our Es- 
tablishment, which has been adopted by the Roman Catho- 
lics, and exercised by Protestant congregations of every 
name and sect throughout the Christian world, cannot but 
be practicable, instructive, and lovely in itself "For, 
however individuals and societies may have differed in all 
other points, on the utility and necessity of Catechising all 
have agreed.— Europeans, Asiatics, and Africans, Greeks 
and Latins, Papists and Protestants, Lutherans and Cal- 
vinistics."* Wherever, therefore, it has been discontinued, 
the blame must rest upon individuals, whose duty it is to 
embrace every means, which the Church sets forth, of ex- 
plaining its doctrines, and extending its influence. 

At the present crisis, when the Church of England has 

* Mant. 


descended from her vantage ground, and declared her wil- 
lingness to depend upon her moral strength — the purity of ^ 
her Creed — the strictness of her discipline — the attachment 
of her supporters — and the fidelity of her ministers, for 
maintenance and ascendancy, there is a louder demand 
than ever for pastoral exertion in every branch of her or- 
dinances. It will no longer suffice to talk of attachment 
to the Establishment, to write in its defence, or to contro- 
vert the arguments of its adversaries. Ours must be the 
persuasive reasoning of effective ministry. We must find 
our way to the hearts of the people, by exercising every 
duty which the Church imposes, as a tost of usefulness 
and sincerity. The Dissenters boldly measure strength 
with us ; the Roman Catholics openly menace and oppose 
us — they argue with us, they challenge us to a contest of 
words, and to a comparison of professional activity. But 
as long as we are vigilant and true to ourselves we have 
nothing to fear. Our former triumphs have been achieved 
by a lively zeal in the diffusion of light and knowledge, by 
guiding the public mind in the search of truth, and by ta- 
king the lead in all pursuits that conduct to it. But having, 
by the blessing of God obtained our pre-eminence, in part 
at least, by promoting national education, and religious in- 
quiry, we must now preserve our station by personally 
superintending their progress, not only in Schools, and 
among individuals, but in the face of the congregation. 
I have the honour to be, 
My Lokd, 

Your Lordship's most obliged 
And faithful servant, 

William Stephen Gilly. 

May 1, 1828. 

If you would have united and pros- 
perous parishes, affectionate to your- 
selves, and devoted to your Redeemer 
— if you would enjoy the blessed sat- 
isfaction to see your spiritual chil- 
dren walking in the truth, and to 
meet them joyful and happy at the 
judgment of the great day, never lose 
sight of your duly to the lambs of the 
flock of Christ — the duty of thorough 
personal catechetical instruction. 

Bishop Ivks. 


Nothing can be more strongly conclusive of the advan- 
tages which arise out of a system, where instruction is im- 
parted to children, through examinations in Scripture, and 
in elementary knowledge, than the Reports which arrive 
in this country from India. When Bishop Heber declared 


here," lie was speaking of the Missions in Tanjore, where 
well-conducted schools, for the diffusion, in the first place 
of European, and ultimately of Christian Knowledge, are 
prominent among the means employed of enlightening the 

" I can assure the Society," says the Rev. Thomas 
Robinson, secretary to the Calcutta District Committee, 
addressing himself to the Society for Promoting Christian 
Knowledge, " that their native schools in Bengal hold 
out most encouraging prospects of success in converting 
the heathen to our hoi;/ faith. I have visited these semi- 
naries, and am satisfied that no human means can be so 
effectual in sapping the foundation of idolatry as they are. 

The work may not immediately be followed by brilliant 
results, but there can be no doubt of the ultimate effect. 
Prejudice and alarm are rapidly subsiding, and difficulties 
which a few years ago presented a formidable barrier, are 
now unknown. We are at liberty to introduce the Scrip- 
tures and other religious books without a murmur. The 
word of God is taught daily ; the Lord's Prayer is com- 


mitted to memory, whilst treatises, calculated to convey 
useful knowledge, are received and learnt with avidity." 

The following extracts from Reports of proceedings in 
India,* relative to hopes entertained of reaching the hearts 
of the population at large, through the young, will not be 
thought foreign to the question discussed in this volume. 
We may argue from the unconverted heathen abroad, to 
the nominal professors of Christianity at home, and expect 
the same results to follow. 

" Each succeeding despatch, and every fresh arrival 
from the East furnish accumulated evidence to prove that 
education, and education alone, can overcome the preju- 
dices of the Heathen, and prepare the way for the recep- 
tion of Christianity. And when this fact is understood in 
Europe as completely as it appears to be understood in In- 
dia, the Society may expect those important additions to 
its Native School Fund, which will enable it to answer the 
purposes for which it was formed." — Report of the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1826, p. 27. 

* Similar expectations are indulged in another part of the world 
upon the same principle. 

"Besides the model schools at Bridge Town, the Bishop of Bar- 
bados has adopted a plan for the general instruction of the black 
population throughout his diocese. He proposes to appoint one or 
more catechists in every parish, whose especial duty it will he to in- 
struct the slaves, under the direction of the Clergy, and with the 
permission of their respective masters. His Lordship has been so 
fortunate as to procure the services of several highly respectable per- 
sons in the situation of catechists ; and the system is undoubtedly 
calculated to communicate religious knowledge, both to the adult 
and to the child, with greater rapidity and greater regularity than 
any that had been previously proposed." — Report of the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1S26, p. 31. 


" Stimulated by these encouraging assurances, the So- 
ciety will continue to give its most earnest attention to the 
increase and maintenance of native schools. The liberal 
provision now made by the Indian Government for the lit- 
erary instruction of its subjects, seems to point out the 
communication of religious knowledge as the peculiar field 
for the operation of the Society." — Society's Report of 
1827, p. 29. 

" At Bombay, to which a Missionary has now been ap- 
pointed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 
there has been a considerable increase in the number of 
children educated in the Native Schools ; a large supply 
of books has been requested; a large remittance in pay- 
ment for former supplies has been received: and it is 
hoped that Christianity will soon be introduced into the 
schools in this Presidency in the same unobtrusive and 
effectual manner which has been already adopted in the 
neighbourhood of Calcutta. 

"In Ceylon, where the number of native Christians has 
long been considerable, and where nothing seems to be 
wanted but an improved and extensive system of schooling, 
the plan suggested by Bishop Heber for the education of 
native teachers, has been unavoidably interrupted by his 
death. But so valuable a suggestion will not be lost sight 
of." — Society's Report of 1827, p. 32. 

" In these schools the Scriptures are read as a book of 
elementary instruction, without opposition from the natives, 
or any appearance of dislike. Here, it would seem, a 
great door, and effectual, is opened to the preaching and 
reception of the Gospel. For it may reasonably be hoped 
that many, whose minds have been thus seasoned in early 


life with the words of truth and soberness, will see, when 
they grow up to manhood, the folly and wickedness of 
their popular creed and superstitions ; will listen with glad- 
ness to those messengers of Christ who propound to them 
the truths, and ply them with the lessons of godliness, to 
which they had been accustomed in their childhood ; will 
renounce the errors and idols of their forefathers, and be- 
come sincere and willing converts to our pure and holy 
religion. Under these convictions of their tendency to ad- 
vance the good work of conversion, a separate fund has 
been formed for their support. And the Society entertains 
a sanguine hope that, under your protection, they may, 
through God's blessing upon the instruments which he 
vouchsafes to employ, serve to promote the knowledge of 
the Gospel, and to extend the boundaries of the kingdom 
of heaven — From the Bishop of Gloucester's Valedictory 
Address to the Bishop of Calcutta, Society's Report of 
1827, p. 91. 

" Six schools have been established in different parts of 
the city, (Benares), containing about 240 boys: in these 
schools, after the first books, the Gospels are read, and 
the treatise on Geography in Hinduwce printed by the 
School. Book Society. The streets of Benares being mostly 
very narrow, the boys assemble in long verandahs, and 
the passers-by see and hear all that takes place: this, 
though unfavourable for the purposes of a school, yet 
causes what the boys read to be heard by many, and some- 
times a hundred people or upwards will crowd around 
while the boys are examined in the previous iveek's exer- 
cises, and their knowledge is diffused." — Report of the 
Church Missionary Society, 1827, p. 114. 


The Calcutta Committee gives the following account of 
an examination of the schools ; — 

" On the 23d of April, a general examination was held 
of all the schools, previous to the Annual Meeting of the 
Committee. About sixty attended, from seven years old 
and upwards. The business of the day commenced with 
the third chapter of Galatians, read by one of the elder 
boys in Hindoostanee, and a Hindostance prayer by Mr. 
Wilkinson, in which the Christian boys joined, the teachers 
and other boys attending in a very orderly manner. The 
different classes were then examined in an Elementary 
Catechism composed by Mr. Wilkinson, the Assembly's 
Catechism, and W T atts' Catechism of Scripture Names, 
various Native Class-books, the Hinclce, Oordoo and Per- 
sian Testaments, the Pentateuch in Oordoo, and the Per- 
sian. One boy repeated a Poem of considerable length, 
on the Being and Attributes of God ; and all performed 
very well with reference to their ages and periods of at- 
tendance. But what appeared to give most general satis- 
faction, was the performance of a class of six boys, (two 
from the Seminary, and four from the Central School,) 
who read various passages from the New Testament, Pen- 
tateuch, and Psalms, in Persian and Ilindce. The feel- 
ing and intelligent manner in which they delivered their 
various portions, contrasted with the formal drawl so gen- 
erally exhibited by native readers — the readiness, accuracy, 
and facility with which they referred to different Scrip- 
tures bearing on the subject of their Lecture, particularly 
from Psalm viii. to the interpret atory passage in Matthew 
xxi. and Hebrews ii — and the good sense and correctness 
with which they answered the various questions proposed 

17 0 

to them, could not fail to excite mingled gratification and 
surprise in the minds of all who considered how lately 
they had come under this species of instruction. The in- 
terest also taken in the Lecture by the native teachers, 
and their inquiries respecting passages of which an ex- 
planation was offered, could not but be highly pleasing." 
— Report of the Church Missionary Society, l&27,p. 121. 

" I sent out the schoolmaster last Sunday while the bell 
was ringing, to those who lived near, to invite them to 
come ; but they would not : they asked what profit they 
should get by going to hear a sermon. Finding that no 
adults attended the services on Wednesday and Thursday 
evenings, I dispensed with preaching, and now read the 
prayers, and catechise the children on the history of the 
Bible and the leading truths of Christianity : by begin- 
ning these services an hour before the usual time of closing 
the school, the attendance of most of the children is se- 
cured ; for though they are not compelled to remain, yet 
they generally do — that is, the Cingalese boys on the 
Wednesday, and the Portuguese on the Thursday. Seve- 
ral also of the Headmen's sons, who come to school to 
learn English, are, by this means, brought to engage in 
Christian worship, who would not venture to come on the 
Sunday for the express purpose : in this way it may be 
hoped that some good may be effected — that their preju- 
dices against our religion will, in time, wear away — and 
that the truths of the Gospel, becoming familiar to them, 
will, through the blessing of God, enlighten their minds: 
they will not kneel with the other children at prayers, but 
they do not object to take a book and join in the service." — 
Report of the Church Missionary Society, 1827, p. 149. 


Of the schools generally, Mr. Ward writes — 
" They are all visited twice, and in some cases three 
times, a week, by our young people; which, together with 
our own visits, will be productive, I trust, of a gradual im- 
provement in the rising generation. Wc have never be- 
fore possessed the means which we now do, for the ac- 
complishment of this important object." — Ibid. p. 150. 

It is not too much to say, that, 
next to an established'liturgy, 
and beyond all prescribed con- 
fessions of faith, the single or- 
dinance of catechetical instruc- 
tion has been, under Providence 
the great stay and support, 
throughout Christendom, of or- 
thodox unwavering catholicity. 

Bishop Jebb. 



The purpose with which this re-print has been under- 
taken will be fully answered if it shall serve to extend the 
increasing attention which is now attracted towards the 
plan of public catechising, and to establish more widely 
a just and partial conviction of the great importance of that 
ancient institution. The success which shall attend its 
adoption in any case will be mainly dependent, under God, 
upon the pastoral interest. As to the duty of bringing up 
the children of the Church "in the nurture and admonition 
of the Lord," there will be no difference of opinion. The 
only point to be decided is, the most effectual mode. If the 
test of experience be followed, the decision will be easily 
established. A chief obstacle to its adoption is the appre- 
hension, commonly met with, of failure in the attempt. 
There is a supposed necessity of some peculiar fitness for 
the work which all cannot attain. Doubtless there will be 
different degrees of facility and different degrees of success 
in this, and every other human enterprize. But because 
all preachers are not eloquent alike, are not all to preach 1 
The conviction is established in the author's mind, after 
much reflection and experience, that a high degree of ex- 


cellcnce is much more generally attainable in catechising 
than in preaching. The saying often quoted, is not lost 
sight of, that " a boy may preach, but it requires a man 
to catechize." Allowance is first to be made for a fair 
measure of proverbial exaggeration in the antithesis here 
stated. For the rest, experience makes the difference. 
" Docendo docemur." The catechist will learn to cate- 
chise. Only let him have long patience. If there be a 
motto for him, better than any other, it is Isaiah's — " pre- 
cept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon 
line, line upon line; here a little and there a little." For the 
method of catechising, it will vary — the Church catechism 
being the basis — with every variety of character and cir- 
cumstance. No course that could be delineated would 
suit all. A specimen of the course pursued, with great 
advantage, by the present writer, is in preparation for the 
press — " the Church Catechism analyzed, and proved by 
Scripture." After all, it will be no more than " Hints for 



Introduction by the American Editor iii 

The Church's care for little children 7 

The Author's Introduction 47 

Preliminary Observations 51 

Extract from the Bishop of London's Charge . . .52 
Catechising, the uniform practice of the Roman Catholic Clergy 

abroad 54 

The Practice of the Roman Catholic Clergy in England . 56 

Its Success 57 

An Instrument of Proselytism 60 

Practised by the Foreign Protestant Clergy ... 63 

Its Happy Effects 65 

Measures which have been adopted in England to enforce Cate- 
chising on the Part of the Established Clergy . . 67 

Canon of Edward VI . . 68 

Penal Injunctions of Elizabeth ...... 69 

Canons of James I. ........ 71 

Rubric of 1661 73 

Insufficiency of the Rubric to revive effective Catechising . 74 
Motives derived from the Baptismal Service . . .78 
Motives derived from the Ordination Service ... 80 
A Mistaken Idea, that the Necessity of Catechising is super- 
seded by the National School System . . . . S4 
Erroneous Estimate of tlie Importance of Catechising . 87 
Catechising practised by the Apostles and their Successors . 89 
The Attention paid to it by the Early Church . . . 91 
The Opinions of the Early Reformers, and other Eminent Men 94 
The supposed Difficulties of Catechising . . . .98 
Practical adoption of the Proposed System . . . 101 



In what Respect the old Practice may be modified and improved 109 

I. The Time of Catechising 110 

II. The interspersed Explanations, and mixed Character of 

the Practice Ill 

Methods of rendering Catechising attractive . . . 112 
Example of the System in reference to the Catechism . .118 
An Example in reference to a Scriptural Examination . 121 
The Mode of Interrogatory on the Principal Articles of Reli- 
gion, and giving Answers from Scripture . . . 127 
Miscellaneous Doctrines explained in Answers from Scripture 130 
Explanations of Words and Phrases .... 132 
The Progress of Children, who have been Catechised exempli- 
fied by Questions proposed, and Answers liter.illy re- 
turned by them ........ 133 

Popularity of Catechising 137 

Its Usefulness 143 

It acts as a stimulus to Domestic Instruction . . . 152 
The same system adopted at Durham .... 15G 

Conclusion . . . * . . . • . 162 

Appendix .......... 165 

Postscript . . : 173